When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
In my experience, a lot of people use these verses to say that we shouldn’t try to be great. That things like ambition, aspiring to be a leader, or wanting God to increase your platform are straight up unbiblical. Not good at all.
But when you read these verses, you can’t really find that idea at all. Jesus didn’t say, stop trying to be great. He just said, get there a different way. Flip the funnel and put yourself at the bottom, and that’s how you’ll become great.
You find this same idea when you study the life of John the Baptist. It’s interesting that Jesus had no problem calling John the greatest man ever. If it is bad to be great, you think Jesus would avoid that terminology. But once we understand why Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest man ever, it makes perfect sense. It wasn’t because he was greater than Jesus. It was because he had this attitude about Jesus:
He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be great. In terms of your performance. Or your influence.
But what you have to ask is:
Why do I want to be great? And how am I going to get there?
If you want to be great, be great for God’s sake.
If you want to be great, be great in a way that makes Jesus even greater.
If you want to be great, be a servant of all.
If you want to be great, flip the funnel. Put yourself at the bottom.