Summary: Disciples of Jesus was given a new perspective on greatness. We learn to (1) find greatness in serving and (2) make Jesus the benchmark of true service.

To be great is to serve. We don’t ASCEND to greatness, but descend into greatness.

 To be great in this world is to put importance on oneself; to be great in God’s Kingdom is to serve the needs of man.

 The world sees greatness in those who exercise power and authority but God sees greatness in those who serve.

Do not be like the boss who wrote this memo to his personnel director: ’Search the company for an alert, talented young man who can step into my shoes. When you find him - fire him!’

When Hitler was looking for a chauffeur he selected the shortest man he could find and kept him as his driver for the rest of his life. This man was so short that he needed special blocks under the driver’s seat just to see over the steering wheel. Hitler used other people to make himself look bigger than he really was.

God sees greatness in those who serve.

Are you serving today? Then God sees you are great!

The problem is not with seeking greatness. It’s good to seek for greatness.

 Jesus did not reprimand the disciples for the desire to be great. God wants us to aspire to greatness!

 The problem is not with the desire, but with our understanding of greatness. The world has twisted the true meaning of greatness – we define it as having authority, status, power, money...

 Jesus says greatness has nothing to do with these

• Greatness isn’t having a million people look up to you

• Greatness isn’t having your face printed on the Fortune magazine

• Greatness isn’t having money or prestige or worldly success

D. L. Moody describes it best:

“The measure of a man is not how many servants he has, but how many men he serves.”

Like to share with you the three principles for achieving greatness:


Man wants to be "Benefactors" (v.25) - that’s how the Lord describes the "kings of the Gentiles and those who exercise authority".

 Like James and John, who wished to sit beside Jesus when He sits on His throne.

 What they’re really asking for is power, influence and position.

 And they were not the only ones guilty of this. The only difference - they voiced out their intentions. The other 10 confirmed their same thoughts when they showed their anger.

Look at Jesus’ life – isn’t He great? Yes. Christians or non-Christians alike acknowledge the greatness of Jesus - as a teacher, a great prophet, a great man who had ever lived.

 Jesus had never written a book, or led an army. He never holds any public office and never earns a degree. He was not rich. He was not powerful the way the world views power. He died the death of a common criminal.

 Yet He was the greatest man who ever lived, because the welfare of others came before His own welfare.

 He left in this world the most lasting and pervasive influence ever.

As a Teacher and Lord, He could have lived above His disciples and demanded blind allegiance.

 Yet He served them – even in the midst of their misunderstanding, selfishness and weakness.

 What motivates Him was the need He saw in man – the need to bring them back to God.

Being a servant is not one of our natural behaviours...

 If someone asks you, “Who would you rather have been – Princess Diana or Mother Teresa?” That’s not so simple – a choice between what I know I ought to say, and what I wish to say.

Given the choice, most of us would rather be the princesses of Wales than a servant to orphans in India. It would be nice to have a feel of life as a royalty and be treated like a princess.

 Our human desire defines greatness this way – rather than being a servant to the poor in the city streets.

You want to be great? Start serving... look out for the needs of those around you and help them.

Greatness is measured by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you. Don’t follow the ways of the world. Don’t be like the crabs!

The Peculiar Behaviour of Crabs

I do not know how true this is:

When live crabs in a pot are about to be cooked, one does not need to worry about putting a lid on the pot because the crabs would not climb out anyway. Not because they do not have the ability to do so, they have. The reason is this peculiar behaviour they have:

When one crab tries to climb out of the pot, another crab would prevent it from doing so by pulling it down and climbing over it. They end up pulling each other down and in the end none of them is able to escape.

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Jeff Strite

commented on Jan 6, 2009

Excellent Sermon. Great illustrations.

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