Do you want to be good at your job? Or great?
What about as a parent, as a friend?
Chip Ingram, in the Introduction of this book, points out that when Christians are asked that question, we have no qualms about saying we want to be great. But ask a Christian if he/she wants to be a great Christian, and we hem and haw, ducking our heads, as if embarrassed to admit that yes, we do.
How dare we be so pompous as to desire greatness when talking of spiritual things! Of course, when talking about secular things, it's OK to want to be great. It's just a job or hobby, after all. But when talking about the things of God? It is arrogant.
"Yet what is the alternative? Should be aspire to be mediocre Christians? Is it really prideful to want to honor God with lives of great faith and excellent work?" (p 8) Ingram goes on to point out that when the disciples argued about who was the greatest, Jesus did not admonish or chastise or reprimand them; what He did was correct their view of greatness. "We are designed to be great in God's eyes. When he created humanity, he proclaimed us not just good, but 'very good' (Gen. 1:31). We exist for his glory. That kind of purpose is not served well by mediocrity or even by settling for simply being good." (p 9)
How do atheletes become great? They practice.
How does one become great in business? One makes wise choices and works diligently.
How does a Christian become great in God's eyes? How do I?
I must work and strive and take it seriously. Greatness in God's eyes, just like greatness on the soccer field, isn't going to happen by me standing on the sidelines, no matter how loudly I cheer for others. I need to stop living a passive life, reacting to what happens to me and around me. I was talking with my students this week about Christians being thermostats instead of thermometers: thermometers tell you the temperature around you but thermostats set the temperture.
Guess I should take my own teaching to heart.