True Greatness

What is it that signifies greatness?  If the truth be known, the definition many of us hold is such that we are ruled out of contention: it is a term reserved for conquering heroes, for world leaders - for people in whom we can see no parallels with ourselves.

Jesus had a very simple recipe for greatness: ‘whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all’ (Mark 10:43-44) - a definition which places greatness within reach of us all.  It requires a willingness to forget ourselves, and to focus on the needs of others.

This thought is eloquently expressed by William Arthur Ward:

If you are wise, you will forget yourself into greatness.
Forget your rights, but remember your responsibilities.
Forget your 'inconveniences, but remember your blessings.
Forget your own accomplishments, but remember your debts to others.
Forget your privileges, but remember your obligations.
Follow the examples of Florence Nightingale, of Albert Schweitzer, of Abraham Lincoln, of Tom Dooley, and forget yourself into greatness.
If you are wise, you will empty yourself into adventure.
Remember the words of General Douglas MacArthur.
'There is no security on this earth.  There is only opportunity.'
Empty your days of the search for security; fill them with a passion for service.
Empty your hours of the ambition for recognition; fill them with the aspiration for achievement.
Empty your moments of the need for entertainment; fill them with the quest for creativity.
True greatness has little to do with publicity on earth - Jesus counselled us not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing - but with giving ourselves, to the needs of those that we come into contact with.

If we fail to respond to the needs that are before us day by day. what is there to say that we will be there when the greater needs of a community present themselves?  Be great in service for the little things.  These are remembered in the most powerful of places - heaven itself.

November 19, 2000
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