Last night a few people went to go see Atlas Shrugged, a movie of which I had heard nothing about until seeing it. Made from the novel by Ayn Rand, written in 1957, the plot foreshadows the future (2016) and surprisingly was very accurate. The movie depicts American economy in a sustained depression, gasoline selling at 40 dollars a gallon, and big business (the only hope for the revitalization of the economy) being forced to share its successes and influence with the lazier, non-inovative, small business. When CEOs and the country’s industry leaders begin disappearing and mysteriously leaving their businesses- because they find the pressure of holding the economy on their shoulders while having to share its progress and profit with “moochers”, too much bear- the world continues to shake. From what I gathered from our ice cream discussion after the movie (I don’t know much about politics or economy so bare with me) the undertone of the movie is that big businesses are GOOD (not bad, as America has made them out to be) because they work hard, keep advancing in innovation, and are the best at what they do. Somehow, this motivates all who see it, including my husband, to want to do something great and have influence.
And so after talking with Kevin, I’ve been thinking about this idea of “greatness” and our desire to recieve its status. We see movies like The Social Network and think, “Man, Mark Zuckerberg was just a college student like me! And from one idea, created a multi-million dollar company! I want to do something like that…” And maybe we are realistic enough to know that we don’t have the skill set to start an internet network, or get on the cover of Sport’s Illustrated, but we do think things like…
“I want to be the a mom that everyone looks to to raise their children”
“I want to be a preacher like Piper, or Chandler, or Keller, with a really influential voice and church”
“I want to be a musician or have a music team that produces cds and music that OTHER churches use.”
“I want to be the most, godly submissive wife so that everyone looks to me for marriage advice.”
The examples go on and on. Whether you have an area of study or talent, or you don’t really know what you’re good at, we all want to be specialized and GREAT at something.
Think about the church. A great church is made from, well, God firstly, but he uses people who are GREAT. A GREAT preacher, a GREAT musician, a GREAT administrative person…and boom! Get a bunch of people who are talented and gifted in specific areas and that church gains influence (by the holy spirit of course).
The desire for greatness is not a bad thing. We need people who hone in on specific talents they have and become the best at them. Without those people, our world wouldn’t have influence or move forward as an economy. But my question is, what is the motivation behind your desire to be great? Because if your desire to be great is not for the glory of God, it is vain ambition. And we all know God is not glorified in ambition that is not for His name!
And so before we go off trying to change the world, let’s look at our priorities and start at the top:
1. Are we being great Christians, faithful to following Jesus, abiding in his word, preaching the gospel, and loving others?
2. Are we being great spouses, loving and serving eachother before our hobbies and selfish desires?
3. Are we being great parents, raising our children up in the Lord and disciplining them for righteousness?
4. Are we being great members of a community, helping our brothers and sisters fight sin and meeting their needs?
5. Are we doing a great job in the day-to-day, at work and in our obligations?
These are the things God calls us all to as Christians. He calls us to be GREAT at these things before any other ambition. And then He wills some of us to be great at some other specific earthly calling. And if He wills it, be sure He will equip you for greatness in that thing. But Church, don’t miss out on pursuing the things of most importance. If we are faithful in these things, we are faithful in much, and thanks be to Jesus, we will enter His Kingdom hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23). If that’s not greatness, shoot, I don’t know what is!