THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2018
PATHWAY TO GREATNESS
Why are we destined for greatness? First
and foremost, because we are God’s children, people
and disciples, and God is a great God. We must never forget
and must always “recount his greatness” (Tb 13:4a).
Know that “he is your Lord, and he is your God, our
Father and God forever and ever!” (Tb 13:4c). Like Father,
like children. Like Lord and Master, like disciples.
greatness is also in His great power and might. He is the
Almighty who is all-mighty. It is He who has power over all.
Our destiny is totally in His hands, as He raises up and He
brings down. He “casts down to the depths of Hades,
brings up from the great abyss.” (Tb 13:2b). There is
no one like Him. “What is there that can snatch from
his hand?” (Tb 13:2c).
God is great, no question about that. But are we great? No
we are not. We are sinful and weak. Ezra recognized the human
condition, acknowledging his “wretchedness” (Ezr
9:5). He admitted that “our wicked deeds are heaped
up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven.”
(Ezr 9:6b). Rather than being puffed up because we are destined
for greatness, we rather bow low. “My God, I am too
ashamed and humiliated to raise my face to you, my God”
God is merciful. He is patient and forgiving. “And now,
only a short time ago, mercy came to us from the Lord, our
God, …. For slaves we are, but in our slavery our God
has not abandoned us” (Erz 9:8a,9a). In fact, God did
not only show mercy to us, but He “gave us a stake in
his holy place” (Ezr 9:8b). We have a share in His inheritance.
We are destined for heaven. We are called to be holy as He
is holy. Now that is why we are destined for greatness.
only that. We are to participate in God’s great work.
We are to stand in the place of Jesus and continue his work
of salvation, the most important thing in the world. As God’s
people, we are sent forth, like the apostles. Jesus “sent
them to proclaim the kingdom of God” (Lk 9:2a). Now
this is God’s work. This is divine work. In being sent,
we are given authority and power that belong to God. “He
summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over
all demons and to cure diseases, …. and to heal the
sick.” (Lk 9:1,2b). Demons are powerful beings and on
our own we cannot overcome them. But in God, we prove greater
God intends for us to be great. How does it happen, as we
often stand in the way of God’s intent? Well, we must
strive to have no barrier between us and God, we must know
who He is and what He does for us, and we must strive to be
as He is. God gives us the path to this.
we must know we are very far from greatness and what is great
about us is our great sin. Part of that sin is pride and self-sufficiency,
thinking we are already great without God. Big mistake. Ezra
acknowledged this. “Then, at the time of the evening
sacrifice, I rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle
torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the Lord,
my God.” (Ezr 9:5).
we must then turn away from sin and unrighteousness, as this
separates us from God. God wants to fully embrace us, but
we ourselves push Him off. But “when you turn back to
him with all your heart, and with all your soul do what is
right before him, then he will turn to you, and will hide
his face from you no longer.” (Tb 13:6a). We are to
love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. We
are to obey His commandments.
being restored in our relationship with God, we must strive
to strengthen that relationship. Basically we live a life
of worship. “Exalt him before every living being”
(Tb 13:4b). We pray without ceasing. We bless God at all times.
“Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King
of the ages.” (Tb 13:6c). Doing so is not just fitting
in its own right, but will remind us that God is great and
we are not, that God is holy and we are not yet.
as there will be many times when we will fall and continue
to sin, God, in His great love and mercy, will allow us to
be afflicted. “He will afflict you for your iniquities,
but will have mercy on all of you.” (Tb 13:5a). To punish
us for sin is justice. To punish us when we sin, in order
to bring us back to Him, is mercy. Besides, affliction is
part and parcel of the authentic Christian life, wherein Jesus
tells his disciples to take up their cross. There is no path
to holiness aside from the cross.
as greatness is in who we will become, and also in what we
are enabled to do, we must be about God’s great work
in the world. We must “declare his power and majesty
to a sinful nation.” (Tb 13:6d). Part of our being destined
for greatness is being God’s instruments of
salvation in the world. We are to do the very work of God,
manifesting signs and wonders. As the apostles were called
and chosen, they were sent off. “Then they set out and
went from village to village proclaiming the good news and
curing diseases everywhere.” (Lk 9:6). We are to go
to every village, town and nation. We are to proclaim the
lest our hearts and heads puff up as God allows us to do great
works, we must always be mindful of our total dependence on
Him. Apart from God we can do nothing, and only God provides
the power to overcome. This is why God told Gideon to cut
his army from 32,000 to 300. This is why Jesus told the apostles:
“Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick,
nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second
tunic.” (Lk 9:3). We are to be totally dependent upon
God. Besides, it can be part of the purification process,
as we endure suffering and pain, and allow nothing to stand
in the way of God’s mission. We may lack support and
provisions, we may experience hunger, we may lack funds, but
we plod on anyway.
as the path is difficult and challenging, as we will encounter
opposition and oppression, as we will suffer deprivation and
pain, we must focus on the good that God is doing, and never
be ungrateful. Many blessings will come, as well as many pains,
but even the pains are intended to be blessings. “Now
consider what he has done for you, and give thanks with full
voice.” (Tb 13:6b). Let that gratitude and joy shine
forth as you do your work, and be a witness to all the nations.
“Give thanks to him, you Israelites, in the presence
of the nations.” (Tb 13:3a).
It is not easy to be great. Athletes go to extreme lengths
to be great at their game. Special forces undergo extreme
training. We, by God’s intent and design, are
destined for greatness. We engage a powerful
enemy. The demands and the stakes are much higher.
For household discussion and sharing:
Do you see that you are destined for greatness? Do you understand
what is that and why is that?
Evaluate yourself based on the 7 points on the path to greatness.