What is Greatness?

The Monday feature of the Worldly Saints blog focuses on a story from the sports world – current or historic. The point is to recognize athletes who are using their sports and athletic abilities to further the kingdom of God or to show how some athletes are wasting their days by not giving God the glory.

Greatness. It is a word that varies in meaning in the sports world. In the world of professional football, greatness is 17-0 (the 1972 Miami Dolphins). In the world of professional baseball, greatness is 762 (homeruns hit by Barry Bonds). In the world of professional golf, greatness is 18 (majors won by Jack Nicklaus). In the world of professional basketball, greatness is 6 (number of championships won by Michael Jordan).

Over the weekend, the sports world was ready to crown greatness once again with the number 3 – the number of horse races hoping to be won by California Chrome. But, as you probably know, it didn’t happen. Chrome finished 4th in a field of 11 horses and never really looked like he was in the race.

It does beg a question: what is real greatness? Can greatness be synthesized into a series of numbers or accomplishments?

True greatness runs much deeper. True greatness, in God’s eyes, is not something tangible we can put in a hall of fame. True greatness is not always outward; it is mostly inward.

David might define the question this way: “O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved” (Ps 15).

True greatness is someone who the same inside and outside; it is the man filled with integrity. True greatness is the man who uses his tongue for construction and not destruction. True greatness is the man who has a fear of God and honors others who fear God. True greatness is the man who can be trusted. True greatness is the man who helps those who cannot help themselves.

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