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I Am A Great Man

Greatness Pride Servanthood

Source: “THE LION CAGED” by William Manchester, as published on AmericanHeritage.com, retrieved 1/19/15

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-01-21

Scripture: Mark 9:35 ; Matthew 20:26

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Winston Churchill was notoriously hard to work for. He was demanding, impatient, and oftentimes, downright rude.

On one occasion, a servant was bold enough to stand up to the man, taking strong issue with Churchill’s behavior.

Churchill, it is variously reported, responded saying, “You were very rude to me, you know.”

“Well,” replied the servant, “you were very rude to me, too.”

“Yes,” said Churchill, “but I am a great man.”

While some suggest the comment was made, at least to some degree, tongue in cheek, others, like Churchill biographer William Manchester, suggest that it was serious and in keeping with his difficult temperament.

APPLICATION

Winston Churchill, prime minister of England both during WWII and again from 1951-55, was indeed a “great” man by any worldly standard. He is rightly reputed to be one of the greatest wartime leaders of the modern era. But “greatness” does not necessarily translate into “goodness.”

“Many,” said the great preacher Charles Spurgeon, “wishing to be great have failed to be good.”

In God’s Kingdom, greatness is not measured by accomplishment, but by character—character marked by humility, servanthood, and most importantly, agape love.

No doubt, Churchill, though flawed by perfectionism and impatience, was at heart a deeply caring and compassionate man. Nevertheless, accomplishment and position are no excuses for thinking oneself “better” than any other.

"Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, 'Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all'” (Mark 9:35, cf. Matthew 20:26; Matthew 23:11).

Christians ARE Crazy

Paradox Grace Greatness

Source: A.W. Tozer, THE ROOT OF THE RIGHTEOUS, p. 156

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-02-20

Author: A.W. Tozer/Illustration Exchange
6

ILLUSTRATION

Christians are considered by many to be crazy, and, as A.W. Tozer suggests, with good reason:

A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest ... He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passeth knowledge.

The late Dr. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) was well known in evangelical circles both for his long and fruitful editorship of the Alliance Witness as well as his pastorate of one of the largest Alliance churches in the Chicago area. He came to be known as the Prophet of Today because of his penetrating books on the deeper spiritual life.

APPLICATION

For the believer, nothing in life is as it seems. Possessing faith in the message of God's grace flips absolutely everything on its head. To live by faith is to engage life itself as a set of paradoxes. By faith we understand that we can't achieve greatness by attempting to be great or become powerful by exerting power. Grace teaches us that nothing can be measured or properly understood merely by its appearance, and nothing of consequence can be achieved by normal or even natural means. The paradoxes created by the message of grace simply won't allow us to engage this world straight up.

So learn to identify doctrines and spiritual practices that claim to be Christian but lack the necessary paradoxes.  When someone says "Good people go to heaven," be quick to ask, "Where is the paradox in that?" Paradox is missing in statements like this because they come from the world, not from God. When someone suggests, "Life has been good to me because I'm a good person," be quick to ask, "Where is the paradox in that?" Paradox is missing in the beliefs and practices of so many who claim to be Christians because grace is missing. 

When we cling to grace, live by grace, practice grace, we will indeed seem "crazy" by the standards of this world. If we don't, something just might be missing.

"We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything" (2 Corinthians 6:8-10, NLT).

Illustration Exchange

Merging Into Greatness

Obstacles Greatness Potential

Source: THE QUEST FOR CHARACTER by Charles Swindoll, p. 85

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-12-20

Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:6

Author: Variously attributed to columnist Dear Abbey, auth
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ILLUSTRATION

Some of the world’s greatest men and women have been saddled with disabilities and adversities but have managed to overcome them.

Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott.
Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan.
Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington.
Raise him in abject poverty, and you have an Abraham Lincoln.
Subject him to bitter religious prejudice, and you have a Benjamin Disraeli.
Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes a Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Burn him so severely in a schoolhouse fire that the doctors say he will never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham, who set a world’s record in 1934 for running a mile in 4 minutes, 6.7 seconds.
Deafen a genius composer, and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven.
Have him or her born Black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Harriet Tubman, a Marian Anderson, or a George Washington Carver.
Make him the first child to survive in a poor Italian family of eighteen children, and you have an Enrico Caruso.
Have him born of parents who survived a Nazi concentration camp, paralyze him from the waist down when he is four, and you have an incomparable concert violinist, Itzhak Perlman.
Call him a slow learner, “retarded,” and write him off as ineducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.

APPLICATION

Says pastor and author Chuck Swindoll of their efforts:

Some have merged into greatness despite adversity. They refuse to listen to their fears. Nothing anyone says or does holds them back. Disabilities and disappointments need not disqualify!

Dr. Charles R. Swindoll has served as pastor of some of our nation’s most prominent churches, chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary, and Bible teacher on the internationally syndicated radio program Insight for Living. He has written more than thirty best-selling books, including STRENGTHENING YOUR GRIP, LAUGH AGAIN, THE GRACE AWAKENING, and the million-selling GREAT LIVES FROM GOD'S WORD series.

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

Everybody Can Be Great!

Greatness Servanthood Knowledge

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-08-06

Scripture: Mark 9:35 ; Mark 10:43

Author: Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Reaching For Greatness

Greatness Humility Faithfulness

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2012-03-23

Scripture: Luke 16:10

Author: Helen Keller
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Grasping Greatness

Greatness Faithfulness Devotional Thoughts

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2012-03-20

Scripture: Matthew 25:23

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Despising Another Man's Blessing

Envy Greatness Servanthood

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-02-07

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:24

Author: Dr. Leslie Flynn
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Uniquely Accomplished

Christmas Jesus' Preeminence Greatness

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2011-12-12

Scripture: various

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Looking For Greatness

Greatness Devotion Reward

Contributed By: John Reed | Date Posted: 2011-10-29

Author: Frederick W. Robertson
3

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Win or Lose

Success Christlikeness Selfless

Contributed By: Charles Schuyler | Date Posted: 2020-02-01

Scripture: Philippians 2:3 ; Philippians 2:5

Author: Carlos Arribas
1

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