“I am the greatest batter in the world!”, shouts a little boy in his imaginary stadium that is his backyard . He is all alone. He gets ready, spits on the ground like his heroes and takes a practice swing. He then throws the ball up into the air and takes a swing. “Strike one!”, he yells. He waves his hat to the imaginary crowd.
With no hesitation, he throws the ball into the air again and swings harder. His twisted body falls to the ground. “Strike two!”, he shouts to the noisy crowd. He picks himself up, dusts himself off, picks up the bat and ball once more. He skillfully throws the ball into the air, he swings…and misses. “Striiiiiike three!, You’re out!”, he yells, followed by,
“I’m the GREATEST pitcher in the world!”
I love this story of how we think about greatness. We must be great at something, right? That’s the world thinks we should think. But what does Jesus say?
The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
What? Become childish again? No, become childlike in our complete trust and faith in Him. “Unless we change…” our thinking from “me” to He as the only one who is great, the One who died to save us, the One we place all our hope upon, the One we live for, then we will never “get it”, understand it or live it. We will never enter the Kingdom of God and be where God resides. We will constantly be feeding the “me” who wants to be great and never be satisfied.
In Jesus day, children were seen but not heard. They did not seek greatness, they did what their parents told them to do. Children trusted their parents to know what was best for them, never questioning their authority. Children were loved and cherished by their parents as gifts from God. Children responded with complete faith in their parents. That’s why this example, modeled by Jesus, works.
Don’t you want to hang out where God lives?
Come as a child, not childish looking for attention and greatness, but with a childlike faith with complete trust in our Father. Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life to living in God’s Kingdom.
Be great in faith. Be tenacious in trust.
Micah 6:8 tells us what God seeks in us,
“…what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Seek God. HE is the Greatest of all.
Dear Lord and Savior,
The world gives many tutorials on how to be “great” in the watching eyes of the world. Then you show us what true greatness is…humility. Help me to remember and live it because I get it. We are only as “great” as our faith in You. We are “great” only in the measure of our love for you and others. Continue to transform me to be all you intended for me to be. All my hope, faith, love and trust is in You.
In Jesus Name, Amen