Matthew 23:1-39, Exodus 10:21-23, Romans 8:22-23
It will be difficult to find a more pointless occasion on television than that of the red carpet broadcast of an awards show. Gawking over the clothes of celebrities, movie stars, and millionaires is a low point of television’s year. Success isn’t on that carpet. Greatness isn’t found in the glamor of the world. Jesus would tell us to look past the people in the flashing lights and to look for the people who rolled that carpet out; find the people who are picking up the trash, opening doors, and serving others—there you’ll find a shadow of kingdom greatness.
Brothers, do we fall for the same trap in our churches and in our inner lives? Do we think greatness is found in being at the top of the pyramid or being the person in the room everyone looks to—the kind of person everyone oohs and aahs over?
Jesus reminds us that greatness isn’t found in a title. Rabbi, teacher, pastor, doctor, CEO, head of the house—our crucified Savior smashes all the pomp the world finds in titles. On the cross, literally nailed above our nailed Lord, were titles mocking Him. Yet even in the midst of being mocked with those titles, true greatness and compassion remained as Jesus served us to the point of death on that cross.
If you want to be great, you won’t be. If you want to serve, you will be. Servanthood isn’t a back alley to greatness. We don’t serve, waiting for the eventual boomerang of greatness to be bestowed upon us. It doesn’t work that way. If you chase greatness and superiority you will only achieve great hypocrisy. Serving from the heart, for the good of others, is the true greatness of the gospel of the kingdom.
Jesus says the greatest among us are the servants. His cross and resurrection prove it. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28)—for you and for those whom you serve.
If you crave a red carpet for your life, don’t crave one to walk on, but one to roll out for your wife, your kids, your friends, and coworkers. Serve as you’ve been served by your servant-hearted Savior. Greatness is there with Him and from Him.
Written by J.A. Medders