New year, new resolutions and new expectations. What kind of greatness do you seek to achieve this year? I remember being told when I was a kid to raise my bar high because that is what God wants for me. He promises greatness for me and a hope for future. 
We heard that from church. As believers of Christ, we learn from the bible that God has given many great promises to His people. Look at Moses! An Israelite who was greatly called to save his entire nation from slavery. Isn’t it awesome to have a God who promises great things to us as much as He did to Moses? Or the great King David who was a skilled warrior in the battlefield and a thoughtful writer of the book of Psalm?

However, as I grow older, I learn more characters from the bible who don’t seem to be living the same great life. While Moses and David was called to live a great purpose, Isaiah, on the other hand, was called to preach without result.

Isaiah 6:9 - 11
He said, “Go and tell this people: 
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”

And he answered: 
“Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,

Isaiah was told from the very beginning that his ministry would result nothing and the people he spoke to will not repent. This doesn’t sound like the greatness God has for us! Take John the Baptist as another example. After living in the dessert eating grasshoppers for years, he was put in prison and beheaded eventually. That doesn’t sound too great!

The truth is, while everyone is promised great things, not everyone is called to be big. I don’t mean to discourage you in the start of the new year, but we need to redefine greatness before we start expecting things that God didn’t promise.

What I mean is, sometimes we falsely associate greatness with something big. A big fat bank account, a big number of followers on Instagram or a big leadership and influence over a group of people. In this modern world, we tend to define greatness differently than how God would define it. All the while, this cause us to put so many wrong expectations on God. When our false expectations of greatness meet reality, we start blaming God, believing that God has failed His own promises. 

Greatness isn’t about being big. Greatness is about being the person God created you to be. 

After we redefine greatness, we can start managing our expectations of the future and realigning our life with God’s purposes for us. It might not be big, but that’s where we learn to settle in for what God wants for us instead of pushing for the greatness that the world defines. In fact, Jesus achieved the greater calling in life not by being big, but by being small. 

Matthew 23:11
The greatest among you must be a servant.

Jesus was meant to greatly save the entire world by being small. From the washing of His disciples’ feet to denying Himself on the cross, He chose to be the smallest of them all! 

Once we realized that greatness isn’t necessary about being big, we should also realize that it’s actually about being the smallest in the team. Greatness isn’t only projected through heroic or leadership action, it is also projected through the smallest and invisible act of service. Greatness also goes to those who serves weekly as a door greeter in church, or that housewife who diligently cleans the house everyday. It isn’t necessarily about position, influence or even money.

What a perspective to start the year. Instead of writing big things to accomplish this year, why not start with small resolutions? Such as volunteering at a cause you believe in, taking low profile responsibilities at church organization, or even discipling a small group of friends.

You don’t need a high position, huge influences or lots of money to be a great person. You just need to be what God wants you to be.

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