Sports fans like to argue about who the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) is, regardless of the sport. Is it Michael or LeBron? Nicklaus or Tiger? Ali or Tyson? Who is the Greatest Of All Time? In sports, it’s kinda fun to argue about who the Greatest is… But consider this, when it comes to true greatness: Our society has many standards, and most of them are wrong. We celebrate people for their looks, their money, or their accomplishments. Perhaps there is another standard that matters even more…
The News Nobody Understood
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:19-20, NIV)
It had to be a weird conversation for the disciples, hearing Christ talk about his body and his blood over dinner as they reclined at table. They were still somewhat giddy over the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Hosannas were still ringing in their ears, and yet Jesus was now telling them that one of them would betray him. He went on to say he was going to die, and that God was going to make a new covenant with Israel. The disciples had to be wondering, “Wait, what?!”
How to be the GOAT
This was indeed an amazing statement, and yet it only registered on them for about a minute. They were so used to thinking what their culture thought, they just didn’t get it. The disciples first speculated about which of them would betray their master, and then Luke 22:24-26 says, “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them… But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like… the one who serves.”
It’s Easier Than You Think to Miss the Boat
Centuries later, it’s easy to think that the disciples must have been incredibly dense not to get it, but like all of us they were focused on “what’s in it for me?”, and “what happens next?” (Before you judge them too harshly, have you ever missed a couple of points in a sermon because you were thinking about lunch after church, or going to the lake? Have you ever made your assessments about who was great by listening to the media, or seeing who went viral? Who are the Kardashians, and why does anyone care?)
There are a couple of things that jump out of this passage: One, when it comes to your relationship with God what are you focused on? Are you thinking about what He can do for you, or do you ever simply focus on Him? The disciples had Jesus RIGHT THERE, in the flesh, but they weren’t thinking about him. Instead, they were wondering about which of them was the greatest, and what positions they would hold when they overthrew the Romans. Is your prayer life directed more at “do”, or “be”? (Yeah, I know, there’s a bad Sinatra joke in there somewhere…) Appreciate God in the moment instead of just asking Him for stuff.
Finding True Greatness
Second, how many leaders do you know who actually serve to lead? Our society places value on being rich and important. In our culture, being the greatest usually means that you are the one who gets served… But, seriously, how many Dads, bosses, husbands, or politicians are servant leaders? How about you? What type of attributes characterize YOUR leadership? Jesus said it this way: if you are not serving, then you are not leading. If you are not the least, you are not the greatest. The next time you celebrate the Lord’s Supper, remember what he said. Remember what he did. If you are looking for greatness, that’s where you’ll find it.
The Greatest of All Time... Hollywood has parties that are only for the "A List"; Culture celebrates the best, the richest, or the latest. Jesus showed humility in something of a plot twist, While disciples sat and argued who would be the greatest. Jesus gathered up his robe, and took the lowest seat To give the men an object lesson as he washed their feet. "Among the Gentiles, leaders strut and rule for all to see; They act like sovereign lords as if they have the right to be. If you want to be the greatest, this is how you start: Begin by serving others with a humble servant's heart." Their argument hung in empty air as each one realized That leadership was at their feet, and looked into their eyes...
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