by Kevin Rutherford


When at the peak of his career the famous boxer was known to have said, “I am the greatest.”  He now suffers from a debilitating disease.  The famous race car driver was once considered to be the greatest by many.  He left this life in a terrible racing accident.  The world conqueror has been dubbed by history as “the great.”  He died while still very young.  Perhaps being the greatest is not all that great.

The disciples of Jesus once argued among themselves over “...which of them would be the greatest (Luke 9:46).”  With a little child sitting next to Him Jesus responded to the disciples by saying, “...he who is least among you all will be great (Luke 9:48).”

Jesus illustrated the way to true greatness when He washed the feet of the disciples (John 13:1-17).  In true humility the very Creator of mankind washed the feet of men.  This was a lesson Jesus did not want His disciples to forget (John 13:15).  Jesus also showed His sincere humility when He left heaven to die for mankind (Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus is the ultimate example of humility, and being the ultimate example of humility He has truly shown Himself to be the greatest.

Sometimes Christians foolishly take sides over which preacher in the brotherhood is the greatest (1 Corinthians 3:1-23).  Worse than that, sometimes the preachers themselves begin to think they are great.  Paul in essence said the preachers are nothing, but God is everything (1 Corinthians 3:7).  God is the one who deserves all the glory for any good effects that might come from a preacher’s work.  Paul considered this fighting over preachers to be foolish and said, “...let no one boast in men (1 Corinthians 3:21).”

It matters not how many meetings a preacher holds per year.  It doesn’t matter how widely he may be known.  It is foolishness to think it important to see how many people look up to, and admire a certain preacher.  The preacher is nothing.  God is everything.  God must be given the glory.

Unfortunately there are preachers who carefully calculate their moves in such a way as to bring themselves great fame.  There are preachers who think themselves to be great and who want others to think the same of them.  Some may even think they are the greatest preacher to come along since the Lord Himself.  This kind of arrogance will do nothing but lead that preacher into trouble:

I wonder how many of our false teaching preachers have been led into error because of their desire to increase their following.  Preachers who begin to cultivate fans who follow them, rather than the Lord, are starting down the wrong path.  Many a preacher has come up with strange and distorted doctrines in order to maintain or increase his personal following.  Such preachers will be in for a rude awakening on the day of judgment.  They will quickly discover they are not the greatest after all.

Let us leave arrogance out of the church.  Let it not be seen in preachers, elders, deacons, teachers, or any other member.  We must be known as a people of humility, because it is in humble service to others where true greatness is found.