Inside every human spirit is the desire to succeed and to achieve in life. It started when God told Adam, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion…" (Genesis 1:28). But God doesn't want us to think that achievement and success are going to cause us to be great in life or to bring us fulfillment and happiness. I believe that God wants His people in strategic places, but He wants them to do it with the right heart. Jesus' concept of greatness is found in service. Indeed, He set the standard: "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).
It's hard sometimes to wrap our head around servanthood and a great life. Our culture does not teach us that servanthood is the key to success. What we see is people manipulating others, stepping over people, and doing things to try to gain more authority and power. But Jesus gave us the ultimate example of greatness at the Last Supper with the disciples in John 13. When He overheard some of the disciples disputing among themselves about who was the greatest, Jesus did something profound to show His disciples the meaning of greatness. He reminded them that He was among them "as one who serves" (Luke 22:27), and then He washed their feet. The message He wanted them to understand before He left this earth was that service is the greatest thing in the kingdom of God.
A while ago I was talking with a very successful man who was celebrating his seventy-fifth birthday. He said, "Victoria, as I look back, the greatest thing in my life, the thing that has brought me the most joy, happiness, and fulfillment, has been to be able to use my position and the wealth and the things that I acquired to help other people." He could have told me about all his achievements, but that was not it. The satisfaction of the persuasive smile on his face drew me in to listen carefully to how he was able to use his company to sow seeds into people's lives.
When we reflect back on our life, we want to see a life of greatness, a life well lived! God wants you in a strategic place because He wants you to make a difference in this world, but He also wants you to know that it's through your service, it's through your giving, it's through stooping down when it's not convenient and washing other people's feet that you will be made great. Let your life shine in greatness!