+ What to do to be the Greatest amongst your contemporaries
So you have a gift.…
You want people to know you have it and that you can do the things you do better than others, right?
You want to be seen as the best amongst your contemporaries?
You sure will have to think again….
Even as you have that urge to be known as the number one or the best, it is far better to be named amongst the greatest.
This post will help point you to Godly wisdom to greatness…
No matter your calling or profession, you just might have that feeling of wanting to be seen as superior amongst others. For some, it is just a tinkling feeling that comes and goes….for others, it is a reality that has consumed them and made them obsessed with wanting to be seen as better than others.
Now, have you seen people called to ministry -gospel artistes, dancers, bloggers, and even pastors- claim to be the best amongst their colleagues? Are they doing the right thing by putting such claims up? How about doctors? Lawyers? Businessmen, etc?
We’ve seen self-claims of things like:
‘The number One …………… in Africa’
‘Nigeria’s best ………… ever!’
Do these reek more of pride and boastfulness which God abhors or is it okay to say we are better than our fellow ‘messengers’, servants of our Lord OR others created by God ?
This is an issue that has been on my mind for quite some time now.
As I let it run through my mind from time to time, I looked forward to having divine wisdom resolve its spin circle once and for all.
And yes, it came .
You see, many people have become so used to wanting status and positions that will make them look better than their contemporaries. Right from primary school, people are made to jostle for prime positions in a bid to show how clearly above their contemporaries that they are. For example, your parents will tell you to ensure you find yourself in the 1st to 3rd positions in your class and will support that by giving you a few perks and freebies whenever you get a position close to the 1st or when you are first in class.
As much as this crave for position helps children sit up and prepare well for their examinations, it is obvious that it has affected oh-so-many people negatively.
So many people have grown up with the mentality that they always have to be the leader of the pack, ahead and better than others.
This has brought about a deep seethed pride within them that makes them covet and go for the ‘best amongst the rest’ description and that makes them to always want to seem better than others, even to the point of acclaiming so by themselves.
Yes, I know we ought to say what we want to become until we become it BUT if all you want to become is to be ‘better than others’ then you do have a lot to come to truth with.
God didn’t create you and give you abilities to be better than others. That high level of gifting you have is not to make you start thinking, acting and claiming that you are better than others. All you have been given is to help better the life of others, including that of your colleagues and contemporaries.
Can we be honest here? Pride lurks in your heart. Insecurity also lurks somewhere around there too. That pride has already made you burn bridges that would have helped you do what you do better or help some other person do better.
Does God call you to a place of pride in your calling or does he require that you serve with a humble heart more and more rather than with a boastful tag line?
We ought not to want to be better than others, rather, we ought to count others better than ourselves.
How do we back this up? Let’s see what scripture says:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
Does the above passage make this clear to us? Yes, it does. We really ought not to try to build on selfish ambitions that we think will place us above others…We ought to rather count ourselves less than others and look out for their interests.
And hey, don’t worry…That won’t make you lose your self-worth. Humbling yourself and serving others does not in any way make you lesser than them. It is in that humility that God Almighty lifts us up. But when we continually worry and want to be better than others or at least have one feature that makes us look or seem better than them, then we miss it all.
I remember when I started blogging….I used a tagline that said we were your #1 gospel blog for music/video downloads, etc. In my spiritual immaturity, I saw nothing wrong with it until God’s Spirit let me know we had to take it off.
You see, I put that tag line up when I didn’t know that there were a few other gospel blogs then – we didn’t really have much then. When I met a few other gospel bloggers, I was glad we weren’t alone. There was no point keeping that tag line. Trying to undermine the work of others and make our own look superior with a tag line that says so was something I did not want to continue in.
By saying that you are better than the others, do you thus condemn that which God called them to do? Do you thus want only you to be recognized and their ministries or effort to become irrelevant?
Guess what? When God’s Spirit instructs and you obey, you surely experience growth.
Obeying God and doing as His Spirit leads make us mature in Him.
God doesn’t want us to count ourselves as ‘better’ than others. God doesn’t want us to think ourselves high and make others sort of worship us just because we feel the gift He gave us is superior than the ones they have so we try to use it to show that superiority, forgetting that the whole essence of life is not to show superiority but to serve humankind as God intends and show compassion for our fellow humans.
How To Be The Greatest….
Still thinking of ways to be better than your contemporaries? Still wanna clearly be the best artiste, blogger, pastor, businessman, lawyer, etc amongst others? Still wanna be the greatest amongst them all?
Here’s what to do….
Count yourself as the least. Serve others.
Remember when Jesus’ disciples asked Him who was the greatest amongst them and in the Kingdom of heaven.
If you want to be the greatest amongst your contemporaries, Jesus’ reply here is what you should apply:
- Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” – Luke 9:46-48
Did you get it? If you didn’t get it from the whole passage, at least the underlined sentence says it all. However, to get the little child part clearer, below is another verse that helps us in this regard:
- 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. – Matthew 18: 1-4
The word lowly position is referred to as ‘humility’ in other versions of the bible. So, Christ clearly let’s us know that what you need to be the greatest amongst others is humility.
Thus, being the best and all that is not in declaring it or trying to enforce it…it is in being able to humble yourself, count others better than yourself and serve them.
That is how God measures greatness.
Indeed, it is a great sight to behold a very gifted man who is not filled with pride because of his gift but is humble and counts others better than himself while he diligently serves them.
When it comes to ministry and purpose, you cannot do better than others….You can only do better in ministry. How? You can also do better than you did before. You can only become better than yourself and do better than you previously did.
Growth in God is vertical, not horizontal. Vertical entails that you look up to Him and grow up in Him. Horizontal involves looking at people and trying to grow larger than them. You end up stunted cos you don’t grow up. You grow wide. Growing wide can be akin to obesity. Obesity has more downsides than highs and makes you susceptible to diseases and chronic ailments. Spiritual obesity is worse.
And as I end this post, I’ll leave you with this adaptation of a quote I got from Freke Umoh.
‘In MINISTRY, we do not compete with each other, we COMPLETE one another’
Flush away the spirit of competition and take out any desire to look better than others.