WARNING: Beware of greatness. It can be a trap. I know. I know. Leaders are supposed to move from good to great, but I’m telling you, greatness can be a trap. The truth is most people find themselves motivated by selfishness, self-centeredness, not self-sacrificial servanthood. They chase greatness thinking they will find happiness, success, popularity, and esteem. They “itch” for it.
So did the Lord’s disciples. Before His death, they were walking with Him to Jerusalem. Jesus knew He would be arrested, tried illegally, found guilty, beaten to a pulp, and crucified. He was thinking about a CROSS.
The disciples were thinking about THRONES. Jesus promised them that when He set up His millennial kingdom on the earth, each would have their own throne. The thrones of honor would be to His left and right. He would have Throne #1, but the disciples itched for Thrones #2 or #3.
They would be like a prime minister and chief of staff, on the front row, elite status next to Jesus. In their minds, the “great” ones sit next to Jesus. To them, GREATNESS was a position, a place at the top above the others, or a title. It’s where important people sit---the prominent, respected, those with VIP, first-class, those who have “arrived.”
How many leaders today (even church leaders) are caught up in the GREATNESS MODE believing this gives them the right to lead others? Impressive salaries, wide media coverage, large staff, country club memberships, numerous speaking engagements, etc. The ambition to be great is self-centered, inward focused, wanting the highest position to be recognized.
Jesus told His men He was calling them to a different approach to leadership greatness, one that is outward-focused and others-driven, committed to meeting the needs of others.
“… whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:43)
“True greatness, true leadership, is achieved not by reducing men to one’s service, but in giving oneself in selfless service to them. And this is never done without cost.” (J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership)
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:45)
Serving isn’t a way to greatness; IT IS GREATNESS!
— Fred Campbell, President of Living Grace Ministries, leads a one-day servant leadership workshop for church leaders. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.livinggraceministries.com.