There are men who dream of greatness, men whose aspirations so consume them that they stay up night after night envisioning that which they will soon become. In their quest to attain and achieve their purpose, in their quest to make their dreams a reality, they neglect friends, family, themselves, and even God because the dream of what they desire to be has consumed all else in their lives like some malevolent malignancy that eats away at the healthy cells of the human body.
When such a one is taken over by the flight of fancy that is the vision of themselves some months or years down the road, their primary purpose is no longer to serve God, or bring glory to Him but rather to glory in their own accomplishments and be great in their own eyes. To better and more effectively highlight the self, such individuals lay claim to titles they have no business claiming, and insist that those around them refer to them as such. Pride consumes its host, and though the beginning of their journey might have been noble and pure and selfless, once the dreams of greatness have wormed their way into the heart, these individuals veer of the path of humility and obedience at breakneck speed.
What prompted this post was a chance meeting with a young man who having successfully graduated seminary, the ink on his theological degree not quite dry, now desired to become an internationally renowned orator and preacher or God’s Word. I knew this young man some years ago, I knew him before the dreams of greatness began pumping through his veins and animating his actions, I knew him when his only desire was to serve God and nothing more. He was different now, in every way conceivable, from the pressed suit and tie he wore on a Tuesday while shopping from groceries, to the impeccable hair parted to the side hairdo, to the air of superiority that wafted off him like stench wafts from an open sewer. My wife had sent me shopping for clementine, so I was dressed in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and three days’ worth of facial hair, not exactly ‘International Evangelist’ material. Though he tried to hide it, his disapproval of my attire was evident on his face.
After the requisite hellos, I asked him what he had been up to, and with a smirk reminiscent of Joel Osteen he proceeded to tell me that he had graduated from theological seminary, and now wanted to start a worldwide ministry. He told me lots of things, after a while I sort of tuned him out, because every sentence began with ‘I want’ rather than ‘God told me’ or ‘the Lord is leading me.’ After his extended soliloquy I wished the young man well, but before parting ways I simply said to him, ‘make sure that what you want, and what God wants of you are one and the same thing. Would it not be a shame to live your entire life chasing after something God never wanted for you?’
The flesh is the flesh, and it will always attempt to rise up, to esteem itself, to see itself greater than it truly is, and aspire to the honors and adulations of men. There is one sure remedy, one surefire way to keep the flesh subdued, and that is to walk humbly with our Lord. The one thing that we should aspire to is not greatness in the eyes of the world or our contemporaries; it is to walk humbly and obediently with He who hung on a cross for our sins that we might one day walk with Him in glory, on streets of gold, in His kingdom.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.