What Prevents Greatness

Matthew 20:26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant”


When I played high school football I could have been considered a good player.  Not a great player, but one who very rarely made mistakes.  I played every down on the field both offensive and defensive and special teams all except for the kick return.

I prided myself in this. But after high school when a friend of mine and I reflected on our career, we both concluded that we could have been great but didn’t take that step to greatness. We often would talk about “if we had only done this or that”, meaning if we would instead just taken risks outside of our fear of making a mistake.  We learned this by playing intramural football in college where we excelled, but it was too late, we missed our chance.


Fearing the outcome will always prevent greatness.  To my football example, I was more worried about letting my coaches and teammates down in making a mistake than I was trying to make a play.  Sure I did make some plays, but greatness was not to be had because of that fear which encompassed my performance.

“When you think, you are dead”

Fighter pilots often say this in dog fighting with other planes, if they think they are dead.  What they mean is they are relying not on deep thought to figure out a way to defeat the enemy, it is out of training and reaction they rely on.  If they do think at all, it is too late, they are dead.

In other words they remove fearing the outcome from the equation.  They don’t ponder many different scenarios, and then react, because it would be too late, the enemy gains the advantage.


Want to be great instead of just adequate? Step out of your comfort zone, trust in your ability and God given talent.  Don’t fear the outcome!  Will you fail? Maybe, but again if you try to think your way out of failing, you are striving not for greatness but plain old status quo mediocrity.  You will not stand out!

Fields of Gold

So what if you fail? Look to many who have but still were considered great.  The Apostle Paul comes to mind.  He garnered the status quo for years in the word of Judaism.  He knew the Scripture, rarely made what were considered mistakes as he was loyal to the Jewish temple. But he never stood out.

After Christ resurrected, his followers were gaining steam and the Jews like Paul were concerned with this movement.  So Paul as did others persecuted Jesus’ followers, beat them, put them in prison, and put them to death.  Paul by doing this failed by God and in his writings Paul confessed to these sins many times, with the remembrance as to who he was.

On the road to Damascus, Paul was called out for greatness by Jesus, the same Jesus he was persecuting.  After this point Paul no longer sought the status quo, he ruffled the feathers of those who already were teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ by his conviction.  He did not fear any outcome!  He trusted in God to see him through and no matter what as Romans 8:38-39 he declared that nothing could EVER separate him from the love he had in Jesus Christ.

God does not want His children to conform, He is great, He commands greatness

When God justifies a sinner in His Son Jesus Christ, He has set this sinner apart from other sinners. Being set apart in the process of sanctification, where the sinner is now being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, the ultimate greatness!

Too often in a church setting, the ones in the pews believe they are like myself when I played football, more fearful to make any mistakes, thus nothing really results except for the plain old status quo oh hum Christian.  When fear comes, God must be magnified!

You may have thought about witnessing the gospel to a family member, to a co-worker, to a neighbor, to a facebook friend for many months, sometimes years because of this fear.  Preventing you from greatness if that one step outside of that fear!  Trust in God, He is the one you serve.  If you are rejected, passed off, shunned, so be it!  You are still great!

When you are blessed with greatness in Jesus Christ, do not take this for granted!  Show the church and the world around you that God is working in you and never be afraid of what may happen, nor think, just be a doer!  As Jesus said, if you want to be great, serve others for Him without excuse or apology.


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