The Key to a Good Life

…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.–Matthew 20:26-28

I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who didn’t want his or her life to matter. I think God creates us with a desire to live a great life. The problem is that we lose sight of what makes a life truly great and what it means to make a difference during our lifetime.

A friend of mine tells the true story of a man who once was an athlete. He played college football until one day, as a young adult, he suffered a stroke at practice. The stroke caused brain damage and the man was in a coma for a couple of weeks. When he woke up, he was paralyzed and couldn’t walk. The doctors told him that he would never walk again. Eventually, he regained the use of his legs and re-learned how to walk, but the brain damage was severe enough that he would never be his old self again. He would be challenged for the rest of his life.

The university where he had played football gave him a job as a custodian. He loved his job. He told my friend that he is so thankful to God that he is alive and can hug his wife and give piggyback rides to his kids. He said he was thankful that the school gave him a good job–even though it was picking up other people’s trash–because he loved helping people.

Here was a guy who has all the reason in the world to be angry with God and to give up. But instead, because his life has been touched by God’s love, he found real life and the way to greatness–to live a life that matters–by loving God and serving others. By the world’s standards, this custodian will likely never be considered great. But, in God’s eyes? Absolutely! This man makes a difference by being a servant, which by the way, Jesus defines as the core value of real leadership!

Sadly, many people never recognize that the key to greatness lies not in the amount of money they make, prestige of their career, or how many times they show up in a Google search; true greatness is not limited to the most popular, the most outgoing, the smartest, or the most gifted; rather, it is available to each of us and is found in the simple and often quiet, role of servanthood.

1. How have you defined greatness? Has your definition been in line with God’s definition? If not, why not?

2. Think about the people in your life. Who can you serve today? How can you serve that person?

Matthew 20:20-28; John 13:2-17; Luke 10:27-37

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, editor, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord Culture Blog also appears on Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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