“What if we led great lives, not by doing great things, but by doing good things over and over and over?”
–Jeff Manion, from Satisfied
“I want to do something great!” For all of the pessimism surrounding this generation, what makes me optimistic is an insatiable desire among so many to do something great. The status quo just won’t do. YOLO. This is the only shot we have, and we want the world to be changed because of our presence. Just giving a few dollars and not cussing or having sex before marriage is not cutting it anymore. This generation wants to be a change agent in the world. Greatness is the goal. I get it…I want to do something great. I want to do something huge. I want the name of Jesus to be proclaimed in a way that it never has before. I want to see God do something in this generation that the world has never seen. I just can’t accept that I was created in the image of God, yet God is ok with me just being mediocre. Here is the positive side of the coin when it comes to our desire to do something great…our goals and dreams in life will ultimately shape our actions and our identity. No goals and dreams usually equates to a mediocre life. I don’t want that. I hope you don’t either.
But let me say a few words to those of us who desire to do something great…
Your desire to do something great for God does not mean God is obligated to fulfill your desire.
God does not need you to do something great for Him to be great. His majesty, power, and fame were already sealed before you entered the world. Long before you entered the world. So, here is what that means for you…if you want to do great things for God, you better check yourself at the door and make sure your desire is not to make yourself great.
This is the issue with greatness (the negative side of the coin). It is desirable on the surface, but I am worried some people say they want to do great things for God, but they actually want people to glorify them and they just attach God’s name to it. They want to determine what great things they will do for God and then ask God to endorse it, but let’s remember that God can’t be tricked or deceived. Real quick, because I know many of you have short attention spans, let me give you two gut checkers to determine whether you want to glorify God or glorify yourself…READY?! Let’s go!
1.) You desire to do something great, but you keep getting frustrated because God has not met your desire.
Ever had that conversation with God? “God, I am praying everyday that you would make your name known through me in ways it never has before.” Maybe you have been praying it for years, and nothing has happened. Remember: God does not need you to make His name great. That is already taken care of. He is God. Now, I understand your prayer (and it is not that your request is evil), but let me ask you a question…
Does your frustration with God reveal anything about your desire? Just ask honestly.
Maybe you see friends around you that have planted churches and grown exponentially. Maybe you know somebody that has started a non-profit and this ministry is doing great things. Maybe somebody you know has started a Bible study and it just continues to grow. Is this your mentality…”God, these individuals are doing great things, but why have you done nothing through me?” I only ask because this is my struggle. I am guilty of comparative analysis. I analyze situations and people that are doing great things and start to wonder why them and not me? Be careful about allowing this to permeate your heart and mind. Comparative analysis is VERY destructive.
Or, maybe this is your problem.
2.) You want to do something great, but you never want to do anything good
Can we really expect an all-powerful and sovereign God to put us on a platform that reaches thousands if we fail to be obedient to Him in the small things? I mean really? Would God’s name be glorified in that? I believe the path to doing great things is tread on the road of doing good things. In other words, great things occur through the compilation of doing good things for weeks, months, and years.
If you are not willing to do things when the only person who can pat you on the back is God, stop expecting God to put you in a position to influence thousands. To simplify…if you are unwilling to minister to your neighbor across the street, stop expecting God to allow you to minister to an entire church. If you are unwilling to help the man on the side of the road, stop expecting God to allow you to start non-profits or plant churches. If you are unwilling to wake up early in the morning or spend time late at night on your knees with God when NOBODY else is around, stop expecting God to position you to do something great.
I think too many people wait years for God to do something great through them, and they fail to realize (or maybe they refuse to realize) that God is presenting them with opportunities to do something good everyday. We miss those opportunities to do good because we are waiting for something great, not realizing that the road to being great is paved with small acts of doing good.
Let me wrap this up…my goal here is not to discourage you if you have large dreams. I am encouraged by the number of Christ followers today that have huge plans and huge dreams. Dream BIG! Dream REALLY BIG! Pursue those dreams! But remember: God is not going to position you to influence hundreds or thousands if you are going to get the glory. Remember: just because you want to do something big and great for God does not mean God is obligated to fulfill your request. And remember: You are deceived and self-centered if you desire to do something great, but have no desire to do anything good.
I love you all! To God be the glory forever. Amen!