What Does It Take to Be Great?

“Greatness is not given.  Greatness is taken.”That’s a line from the new Gatorade commercial starring DC’s newest celebrity – Robert Griffin III, quarterback of the Washington Redskins.

In addition to being a fan of RGIII and hoping that he is the long awaited franchise quarterback that the Redskins have been waiting for, his commercial got me to thinking: 

what does it take to get great?  What defines greatness?

What makes a great doctor or a great lawyer?  What makes a great husband or wife?  And in a spiritual sense, what makes me great as a child of God?

I’ve always believed that the measure of success in any field isn’t based on what you DON’T DO, but rather it is based on what you DO DO.  I even said that once at a retreat and it quickly became the catch phrase of the retreat:  SUCCESS = DO DO (copyright coming soon, once I figure out how to do that :)).

Do you agree or disagree?  Is it what we DO, or is it what we DON’T DO that makes us great/successful?  In other words, is it the absence or avoidance of certain things that makes us successful?  Or is it the accomplishing of certain things that makes us successful?

For example, let’s say you’re a doctor.  Can you say “I am a great doctor because I’ve never caused a patient to die?”  Is that the right measure of success?  I’d ask you this: you may not have killed a patient, but have you ever healed one?  Is it your job to “not kill your patients” or is it your job “to heal them”?

Does “not cheating on my wife” make me a great husband?  Or does she expect more than that?  Does she expect me to love her and cherish her and put a smile on her face?

How about with God?  Does avoiding big sins make me a good child of God?  Or is there more to it than that?  Does God expect more from me?

God does expect more.  He not only expects more FROM YOU, but also He desires more FOR YOU.  He doesn’t want your life to be just “avoidance of bad”, but rather He wants it to be “pursuing of good.”  There’s a big difference.  He doesn’t want us to just be “not bad”; He wants us to be great!

Mark Batterson tweeted this yesterday and I loved it when he said it:  You can do nothing WRONG and still do nothing RIGHT. GOODNESS is not the absence of BADNESS.

I couldn’t agree more.  But I will just change one word – change goodness to GREATNESS.  I believe that God wants me to be more than good.  He wants me to be great!  He wants to give me to have a “GREAT reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12) and to be “called GREAT in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).  It’s not that He wants me to do great things; but rather He wants me to become a great person.  He doesn’t just expect greatness from me; He desires greatness for me.

But the question for today is how to become great in God’s eyes?  I agree with the Gatorade commercial that greatness is not given; it is taken.  If that is true, what do we need to do to be great in a spiritual sense?

An athlete knows what he needs to do to take greatness – train his mind and his body to perform at the highest level during games.  But what about us – the spiritual athletes who are running in the race of life?  What is greatness for us?

For discussion:  what do you need to do to take greatness?