There is a story of a school winning a basketball competition. Out of Jubilation, the students shouted and cheered, “We are number one.” After some time, the cheering and shouting died down. From the bleachers came a booming voice from one of the other school’s professors – “What is the problem of being number two”?
We live in a world that applauds the greatest, the best, and being number one. It is a very human desire. In fact, even the disciples argued among themselves about who among them was the greatest. Further, there was the request to even sit at the right and the left side of the Father. Yet, as Jesus has taught us, being the greatest in the eyes of the world is different from being the greatest in the eyes of God. Three differences are:
- First, being the greatest in the eyes of the world is being served. As one’s position goes higher, the number of people under me increases, the number of people around me increases, and the number of bodyguards increases. On the other hand, the greatest in the eyes of God is about service. “ I came to serve and not to be served.” Sure there is also a hierarchy in the Church but that only means as one goes higher, more people are meant to be served.
- Second, being the greatest in the eyes of the world is about oneself. “I have the most number of accomplishments”, “I have the most number of properties”, “I have the best influence”, “It is about me…” Being greatest in the eyes of God is bearing fruit so that other people may enjoy the fruits. May we always remember that the things that count in life are those that cannot be counted.
- Third, being the greatest in the eyes of the world is only for this world. Whatever we accumulate, whatever we accomplish, and whatever applause we have received, will eventually say goodbye when we leave this world. On the other hand, with being great in the eyes of the world is also storing treasures in heaven. In other words, kindness, love, forgiveness, generosity, and hope are treasures in heaven.
Hence the good news is that while all of us have different missions and callings of God, while all of us have different blessings from God, while all of us may not be great in the eyes of the world, we all have the opportunity to be the greatest in the eyes of God. Just as a child, despite having no status in society, is greatest in the eyes of God.