Do you ever think about what the word greatness means? I think about it often and I seem to come across it frequently in quotes, talks, video clips and other things I listen to for inspiration. I was watching an interview of 2 people discussing greatness and I imagined myself being interviewed and being asked the question, “What does greatness mean to you?”
I think my response would go something like this:
What comes to mind is a story I remember a beloved pastor telling many years ago. He told about a little boy standing in front of a bakery window during wartime. The little boy was poor and had nothing. There was no way he could pay for anything in the bakery. He just stood outside with his nose pressed against the window, staring in, smelling the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread. Just then, a man walked up and said to him, “Little boy, would you like one of those rolls?” The boy looked up at the man and said, “Oh, would I…” The man promptly went into the bakery and bought a whole bag full of freshly-baked rolls. He came out and handed the bag to the little boy. The boy, in a state of awe, gratitude and wonder, looked up at the man and said, “Mister, are you God?”
That story makes me tear up every time I think of it.
I think greatness is someone who causes others (especially those who feel hopeless or lost or afraid) to believe in the possibility of a loving God. Someone who gives others a glimpse of how loved they are, how accepted they are and how they didn’t need to do anything to earn that “bread roll” other than to simply exist… not pay for it, not grovel for it, just open their hands and take it and trust that it was given with absolute benevolence. Perhaps greatness allows others to encounter the depths of love and grace because someone paid attention, someone took notice of their need, their pain, their very existence. And by such love, hope is rekindled… or kindled for the first time.
What about you? What do you think greatness is?
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peace & grace,
**Illustration credit: Christian Schloe