Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - August 29, 2012

 The Pursuit of Real Greatness

This devotional was written by Doug Fields

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. —Matthew 23:12

I’m a little bummed that the London Olympics are over. I wanted to watch more than I did. Oh well, I should still be alive in another four years and my chance will continue.

I found it funny that when the Olympics were on…every sport all of a sudden became interesting if there was an American participating. It didn’t matter what it was:

• Archery… I actually enjoyed watching it!

• Synchronized Swimming… As much as I wanted to make fun of it, it was beautiful.

• Rhythmic Gymnastics… Could have been called “Dancing with Ribbons.” It looked like someone went to the garage and got some balls and hula hoops to add to their ribbon-dance. I don’t know anyone in the world who does that, or has ever signed their kids up for ribbon dancing club team… but it was awesome!

•Power-lifting… Blew me away. The German women…dang, I felt so weak as I watched them lift the weight of a Volkswagen.

My favorite Olympic sports were women’s volleyball, because my daughter plays, and gymnastics, mostly because of the things they could do. It was unbelievable! I haven’t been able to stretch enough to touch my toes since the Nixon administration. I pulled a muscle just cheering from my couch.

The Olympic athletes were inspirational! There are 6.5 billion people in the world, and there are none better at their specialty than those gold medal winners…in the whole world! They are the greatest!

As the Olympics came to an end, I got thinking about Kingdom Living and how differently Jesus defined greatness. His definition seems a lot more difficult in today’s world than becoming great at pole vaulting, doing flips off the high dive, and lifting large weights overhead. Becoming great in God’s kingdom takes a huge “degree of difficulty.”

So anyone humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. —Matthew 18:4

There are so many striving to be great in the eyes of the world, and so few living with humility.

I get saddened to see this posture among so many of today’s visible Christian leaders. I don’t know what the answer is, but I realize that it is always easier to point out problems than to offer solutions. I’m sorry that I don’t have a three-point-plan to eradicate arrogance. I often wonder what the day will be like when Jesus’ words ring true of the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first. —Mark 10:31

As Christ-followers, we are all running in a spiritual marathon. Let’s make it our goal to train thoroughly, practice humility, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, until we reach the finish line. As we cross that line, we’ll find that Jesus is the One who is standing on the top of the medal podium, and I guarantee that he won’t be chest-thumping. Won’t it be exciting to be in the company of the One who defines “greatness”? I’ll be so thrilled on that day that I may even start dancing with ribbons.


1. What type of greatness are you pursuing? How does your life demonstrate this pursuit?

2. Who have you given “back-stage” access to your life to hold you accountable and call you out when necessary?


 1 Corinthians 9:24 ;  Hebrews 12:1 ;  1 Peter 5:5-6

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