Key to Greatness: Service 

 “… but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—”

‭‭‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:26-27‬ ‭NKJV

Greatness is a wonderful thing. An amazing desire that indwells humanity. ‬‬It is a consequential motivation of many of our actions and decisions. Some may deny it. “Oh, I just want to stay at the background and serve!” However, deep down, they want to be noticed at least for their efforts. They want their efforts to be noticed, admired and even praised. 

Dr. Myles Munroe remarked that Greatness in our materialistic world is defined as fame, popularity, scholarstic or economic achievement and notoriety. Greatness may result from these qualities, but they are not the definition for greatness. 

He asserted that in order to define greatness we must peer into the sands of time, observing the lives of people many in the world considered great. Examples of these are Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Cleopatra, Kathryn Kuhlman, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Celine Dion, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael W. Smith, T.B. Joshua, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers etc. 

These people are known for their influence and impact on human society. They did not pursue greatness as goal. Their greatness was related to the discovery, development, refinement, and of serving a unique “gift”, passion or calling to their fellow humans. They were preoccupied with the pursuit of their unique calling or gift in service to mankind and for mankind’s benefit.

Greatness has little to do with the pursuit of fame, popularity, recognition or power, but it is the result of serving one’s gift to the World. When you serve your gift to the world, you become significant are then considered great by folks around you. Greatness stems from the value you bring to life with your gift, passion or calling. I’m so glad to know that every human has that inherent unique gift or calling. 

The greatest man who ever lived, Jesus Christ shared with all of us this amazing key to greatness about two millennia ago. This key has been proven, with results, to always succeed once followed. 

Here is a brief review of Jesus’ leadership training session 101 with his disciples in a house in Capernaum:

“Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.””

‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:33-35‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The disciples were arguing among themselves on the road as to who the greatest among them was. Jesus noticed that and decided to give them a lesson. 

Note first that He never rebuked them for desiring to be great. He never ranted, “You want to be great? How could you?! That is so selfish and proud of you!“No. Nothing of that sort. He actually encouraged the the idea and have them key principle to attain greatness.
He said, “If anyone desires to be first…” This principle is for anyone who desires to attain greatness. Not just his disciples or the church for that matter. Anyone at all who wants to be great must learn this this principle. What is this principle:

He/she must be the last of all and the servant of all.

Service is the key to greatness. You must be willing to serve humanity with that uniqueness in you, that gift, that skill, that calling or passion. There’s something in you that must be served to the world. This is what makes you significant to others and in turn, makes you considered great. 

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus made a similar statement:

Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:26-27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This secret is accesible to every human. Anyone at all who desires to be great, should not manipulate, control or oppress people. He/she must rather serve people with his/her gift, calling or passion. Just study the lives of all the few examples of great people listed above. You’ll come to a conclusion that indeed, Jesus’ philosophy is best. It has been working for thousands of years and produced more results than any other. What’s amazing is that it still works today. 


There is a reason why I keep on mentioning the term “gifts” and relating service of them to greatness. Your gift is something you came to the earth with. It’s an inherent ability that you love to do and are so good at it. Many realize theirs much earlier than others. Some go through certain circumstances that awaken that inherent passion within them to do something -that one thing that makes them feel like their lives now have meaning. That thing that gives them fulfillment on the inside. 

This is what the Bible says about gifts and what they can lead you to:

“A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When you discover that gift or that passion in you, develop it, refine it and serve it to benefit humanity. This gift will bring you to great men.  Lionel Messi, Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali, Mark Zuckerberg, Will Smith,  Kofi Annan, Kwame Nkrumah, Usain Bolt, Steve Jobs, Chinua Achebe, Beethoven , Hillsong United, Kenneth Hagin, William Branham, Billy Graham to name a few are testimony that this philosophy works. 

Jesus Christ not only gave them that principle but served as an example to all of them and all of us. He was the greatest servant of all. That is why He is the greatest man. He ended his lesson by pointing to himself as a typical example.

“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Desiring greatness is not a bad thing. It is to be encouraged. He even gave an added lesson as to how to attain it. Many theories and philosophies in the world have made us to believe that greatness is for an elect few. The rest should just try their best to survive. Then here comes Jesus with the truth:

“Anyone can be great. Here’s how. Serve yourself to the World.”

I love this guy. Don’t you?

Uche Okorie.


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