We casually toss the word greatness around when referring to these people (including Michael Jordan, who will always hold a special place in my heart), but what does true greatness look like?
True Greatness is Not:
True Greatness is:
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Him and said to him, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And they said to Him, “Grant us to sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, in Your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at My right hand or at My left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” -Mark 10:35-45
James and John wanted to be elevated.
They wanted the best seats in heaven.
They wanted success.
They wanted to be great.
But they didn’t understand what true greatness was.
“Our culture celebrates those who are clearly not great in the eyes of God. And to a certain degree our children cannot escape the world’s influence. But are they able to see through the hype? Are they able to turn their attention away from these false heroes and to instead admire those who are truly great as biblically defined?” -C.J. Mahaney
Do your children see through the celebrity facade and admire and acknowledge biblical greatness above the world’s heroes?
Chances are if your kids don’t see you exalting what is truly great in God’s eyes, they won’t either.
Youth leaders, the same goes for us.
A couple of weeks ago I asked my True Beauty girls who I admired most in the world [outside of my parents] and why. Within seconds one of them said with a smile, “Elisabeth Elliot, because she loves God and lives for Him.” Juliana was right on the money.
But then I asked them the same question. As you would expect, their answers varied from actors and celebrities to family members.
Have you asked your kids those questions?
In his book Humility, C.J. Mahaney asks parents: “Are your children slowly and subtly being conformed to this world as it relates to their admiration and emulation of these celebrities?” Are you?
All I’m going to say is check yourself before you wreck yourself (I say this to my own heart everyday).
MORE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR KIDS/YOUTH GROUP:
(While you’re at it, ask yourself these questions from Humility.)
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you celebrate?
- What do you make the object of your public commendation and celebration?
- Are you highlighting that which really matters in the eyes of God?
- Do you make sure you reserve true celebration for that which is truly great in the eyes of God?
- Are you teaching your children to discern and admire true greatness?