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Good Morning MVC - May 26th

by Joe Phenisee on May 26, 2020

Good Morning MVC 


Happy Tuesday to you all, and I hope that you had a reflective and restful weekend. 


This morning I wanted to briefly give a shout out to two people who I am incredibly grateful for, Chris Wilson and Josh Dorrance. Both serve as small group leaders for our 8th grade boys here at MVC, both have become good friends of mine, and both contribute to an ongoing group text where we discuss incredible matters of importance. 


One topic that makes the rounds every other month is this: How close are Michael Jordan and LeBron James? Lately, I have spent much time thinking about the Chicago Bulls of the 90s, since all sports (aside from the Korean Baseball league) are canceled, and ESPN has just concluded its documentary series titled “The Last Dance.”


What was common in all our arguments was that everything hinged on the concept of “greatness” as being the most prolific, distinguished, and exceptional in skill. Chris would bring up that Jordan won 6 rings, Josh would counter that LeBron has made it to 9 finals and faced stiffer competition, and it would go back and forth. The debate on greatness, when it comes to anything, is always measured by the criteria of who has achieved or has more. And the temptation of desiring “greatness” as an end in itself doesn’t just belong to the sports, but infiltrates the Christian life. 


There is always the temptation of wanting to be more successful, more distinguished, more known, respected, and celebrated. Even some of us who work in ministry would be lying to you if we say that there is no struggle with pride, one up men ship, or the desire to make a name for ourselves. I admit that sometimes, I just don’t want to argue about GOATS, but I also desire to be great as well. In this regard, I see myself in the company of the disciples, who at one time argued over who will get to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand. I imagine them throwing stats at each other, Peter arguing about how he is 6-0 in exorcisms, but then John contesting that least he didn’t choke by sinking while walking on water.  


And yet Jesus defines greatness in a way that remains countercultural now as it was back then.  He says “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be a slave of all.” 


Against a culture that desires and reveres prestige, power, and wealth Jesus reminds us that true greatness is to be found in how we love, serve, and give sacrificially to others. He reminds us that if what we truly want is glory, and there is no glory greater than God’s, then we ought to imitate God himself… 

Who did not consider his divinity and power as something to be grasped or abused, but emptied himself, humbled himself, taking on the form of human. Who came to us not to be served, but to serve, not to receive, but to give his life as a ransom for many. 


This is a difficult message, a challenging message, but an important message. Jesus teaches us that we do not live unto ourselves. That life is not about who has the most rings in the end, nor is our value measured by what we can or cannot achieve, but our greatness is measured by the extent we imitate God’s generosity, compassion, and grace in Jesus Christ. 


To that end, let us all strive for greatness. 


God bless MVC and have a wonderful day.