Muhammad Ali, a fellow Kentuckian, died over the weekend after a long and public battle with Parkinson’s Disease. No moment in modern Olympics gave me greater chills than when Ali stepped out to light the flame in Atlanta (every time I’ve driven by the stadium, my first thought has been of Ali standing there lighting the flame). Ali was a phenomenal boxer, and, for his ability as a boxer, he earned the nickname “The Greatest.” He said of himself, “I am the greatest! I’m the greatest thing that ever lived. I don’t have a mark on my face, and I upset Sonny Liston, and I just turned twenty-two years old. I must be the greatest.”
Ali may have been the greatest boxer of all time, but Jesus had a vastly different standard of greatness: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). Greatness comes not from upsetting Sonny Liston when you’ve just turned twenty-two; greatness comes from serving.
If you want to be great in Jesus’ eyes, you’ll serve. You’ll look for opportunities to put your fellow man in front of yourself and do what is in his best interest. You’ll look out for the interests of your fellows. You’ll seek to meet the needs you see.
In a vastly different context, our Lord said, “Lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). Take some time today to lift up your eyes and see fields ripe with opportunities to serve. What can you do today to serve? Who needs a helping hand? What can you do today to be “The Greatest?”
Go forth and serve. God bless!