Sometimes it seems like the world around us is chasing greatness and fame. It seems like everybody wants to be famous or great in some way. To go viral. To discover the next big thing. To be someone who matters.

I suppose I should really not be that surprised since we live in a celebrity culture where celebrities are worshipped and hated, obsessed over and then discarded once their worth is over. There’s always a new one, always someone else popping up, even if for only a short while. A new face for the paparazzi to photograph and stalk.

But what’s the point really in being great and famous? It doesn’t always mean that you made the world a better place. It doesn’t even always mean that you mattered. There are plenty of people who aren’t household names who mattered very much: Irena Sendler, for example, who saved countless Jewish children during the Holocaust, is not a name that most people would instantly recognize.

Everyone matters, in some way to somebody for some time. Does it matter if it’s 1 person or 1000? To those people who you matter to, you are significant and important. Sometimes, the people who matter are never people we will ever know. That anonymous person who chooses to bless your family with something they could really use, the anonymous person who donates blood that you need someday in the event of a transfusion, those people matter without the fame and greatness attached. Those families are grateful that someone did those things even though they will never know who those people were.

It’s not really a new problem though, wanting to be famous and great. It’s kind of an old problem, really.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. – Matthew 18: 1-5, NIV

Even the disciples, who were right there with Jesus, who heard from his mouth about salvation and who saw all the miracles performed, still lusted after greatness and importance.

But Jesus is not concerned about our greatness, he wants our humility. He doesn’t want us to seek fame and greatness, he just wants us to serve and love with open hearts. Sometimes people become great and famous for their serving and loving but they didn’t seek that out and there are many, many more who will never achieve that through serving and loving. I think we worry about our standing in life, but truly our standing is not important. You don’t take your position with you when you die, your job will be replaced and outsourced. Even with the celebrities, some new one comes along, the world keeps moving forward.

Greatness on earth is temporary. Even great people who are remembered long after their death are still dead. Their greatness can’t bring them back into life or compel them to keep on living forever. Your heart though, God sees inside that, God sees you, and that does have the lasting effect on what happens to you after you die. Cling firmly to the cross and his promise of life everlasting for those who believe.

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