What Does It Mean to Be Great?

2 Kgs 2:1,6-14  / Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

The perennial question asked of small children, and older ones as well, is “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  After a while kids develop stock answers for that, and college age folks learn how to fake it too as they’re trying to figure out the answer and simultaneously hating to hear the question.

What are you going to be when you grow up?” is a threatening question for far too many people over 25. And that’s because we have deep inside us a God-given sense that we’re supposed to be special and we’re supposed to do something special. That was the profound desire of the new prophet Elisha as he bade farewell to his mentor Elijah. That intuition and desire is right on the mark.  The problem is with our definition of “something special.”

Jesus has shown us the way out of this cul-de-sac. Real greatness, He showed us, doesn’t come from commanding and controlling but from serving — just the way He did. He changed countless lives, and changed the world, not by pushing folks around but by caring for them, and in the end, dying for them.

That’s real greatness, and it’s a greatness that can be ours.