Photo taken by the author; “The Land of a Thousand Hills” – Kigali, Rwanda
“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
– Winston Churchill
We all want to be great – each and every one of us.
It’s innate within us.
We don’t need to be taught or instructed in this; it is born from within.
We need not ask for it either as this desire is part of the birth package we receive upon our entrance to the world.
What is greatness?
How one defines greatness reveals a lot about a person’s inner convictions, beliefs, and morals.
It determines how they view themselves, other’s, and even God.
This world has a lot to say about what greatness is.
It says greatness is found in money, wealth, women/men, spouses, material possessions — essentially, everything that would revolve around you and make you look great on the outside, as your appearance is projected to those around you.
What makes a person great?
From my limited time on planet Earth, I have observed greatness not to be fashioned on the exterior, as many would believe, but to be developed in the interior of a person’s being.
Ultimately, greatness is about serving others.
In two words greatness is: Servant leadership.
You know what I’m talking about: putting others first, thinking about other people before yourself, that kind of thing – the kind of stuff that hardly comes naturally to any of us.
When you do that, serve another person, you are looked upon as being great by that person, as they take notice of this.
But the motive, of course, is the heart.
Why are you doing this? Why are you serving them?
Is it to receive praise from man or to genuinely make the other person great, and that’s it, with no strings attached, except for the other person’s happiness?
The question is not if we want to be great, but rather, how will we be great?
Better stated, for whom will we be great for?
A friend and leader I’ve looked up to is Gary Nelson (not his real name).
I first met him at a Men’s Retreat my church was hosting and he was the guest speaker.
He has since been the speaker of many of our subsequent Men’s Retreats and I always enjoy listening to him and hanging out with him.
He can be described as a “man’s man”.
In hearing what he has done in his life would give thrills and chills to anyone listening.
I also consider him to be a model of one who leads by serving others, in a strong and masculine way, which is one that I look up to.
This idea of greatness is one of the core themes he would always speak to us men about.
It seemed each trip he would make from sunny and warm Southern California up to sunny and well-below-zero temperatures in Calgary, Alberta, he would remind us of this.
That is, for us as men to take responsibility for our own lives, and to sign-up to do the grunt work that no one else wants to do and that no one asks you to do (whether that be at home, church, work, or wherever.)
He was encouraging us to be the one to volunteer first.
Make it a goal to consistently make ourselves available to do the mundane, inglorious, behind-the-scenes tasks.
For by doing these “little assignments” is where we grow the most, and only then would we be ready for a leadership role, of any magnitude.
Come to think of it, this has been my premise for the work of service I have been involved in with my local church over the years and the different areas I have served in.