I remember when I was young I wanted to be an archeologist just like my hero, Indiana Jones. If you would ask me why I wanted to be an archeologist, it wasn’t because I had this deep love for history or discovering artifacts. No, it all boiled down to me wanting to be the hero. I wanted to be great.
Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up, and I guarantee you it’s something great. It’s to be an astronaut, police officer, inventor, dancer, or secret agent. I highly doubt any of us came out the womb wanting to be an HR rep or an accountant. No, as kids we want to have meaning to what we are doing.
Everyone wants to be great.
However, as grow older, we realize our dreams are sometimes just that.
We realize our dreams of becoming is a harder road to travel than we thought. So, we trade in the desire to be great to be thought of as great. We settle for being served by others instead of serving others.
Our innocent, childlike dreams of being the hero have transitioned into desires of power, fame, control, money, another home, another vacation, another gadget, another car. How can we get ahead? How can we prove that we are not just another flash in the pan? You see, those childlike dreams have conditioned us to believe that we are the hero of our story.
We have it all wrong.
We are not the hero.
What Does Scripture Say About Greatness?
For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went.Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”
This passage is layered with so many underlying meanings, but this is the one I want to focus on for today:
Being great is being a servant.
The entire existence of a servant is to make other’s lives better. It’s not about you, but them. This is the polar opposite of how most of us live life. It’s the Great Reversal. To be great we must put the needs of others before our own.
When we go to our hustle as a place of serving rather than receiving, that’s when we are bringing heaven to earth. We are harmonizing with God’s purpose for our lives. One of the best ways to show the love of Christ is to serve where we are at, every day. When we lay down our desires of being a celebrity, earning more money, or getting ahead, and instead merely want to be the neighbor God called us to be, that’s when we are living out true greatness. Here are three characteristics every servant leader should have.
Your customers, employees, partners, contractors, whomever you interact with has value. These are real-life people. With real-life goals and dreams. They are not another numbered step in the process of accomplishment goal. They are not another resource you can abuse. They are real-life people for you to partner with.
Listen to the challenges and problems of your tribe. Actively seek ideas, feedback, and participation. This will allow you to get to know a different worldview and change your leadership style accordingly.
Remember you are not the hero of your story. Other’s are. Investing in others is a mark of great leadership. This means the leader isn’t always leading, but instead empowering others to lead.
Today, may you understand the meaning of great. May you see the need for others and answer accordingly. May you lean into the Great Reversal and no longer think of yourself as the hero but as the servant.