So You want to be Great.

God's hand


I’ve had another random encounter that has left me with a curiosity about greatness or fame or are these two things the same ?

Well, let me make a short story long !  Not to long, I’ll get to my point as quick as I can.

I love colour, textures, wools and fabrics.  Now and then I go up the hill, behind the big Mall, to  a Centre that has gated parking with a Gate-keeper who gives me a ticket to park.  I have to use the escalator to get to the lovely wool shop called Sew Time.
On one particular visit I noticed a new Gate-keeper who had a gentleness about him, and I thought at the time, perhaps a slight slowness too, so I gave him an extra warm smile and thanked him for the ticket.      Now I live in the Slow Lane and often have random encounters with special people, and if I’m smart enough will recognise them as such, and be a little kinder.    But I went on my way and gave no more thought to it.

About six or so months later I again went up the hill, behind the big Mall, passed the Centre to the big grocery store where I often do my shopping.   My son was with me and we sauntered around the store,  buying the few items needed.     When I had finished paying at the till and about to exit the store, the doorman, who checks the incoming parcels came up to me and said quite emphatically  “I know you”.   I looked at him blankly and he again said “I know you”, I know you from Show Time.”    My mind raced, no I don’t do Show Time, he has the wrong face.   I must have quite a common face, because it’s not the first or second time I have been mistaken for some one else. “Yes” he said, “Sew Time – at the Centre opposite the bank”   The penny dropped and I recognised the gentleness, and the face.   “My”, I said, “you have such a good memory, you sure do know your customers !” I fluttered my hand over my heart to show him I was happy that he recognised me.  He just gave me a big broad smile, and I went on my way.

A brief random encounter, and my heart took wings.  I turned to my son and said “Wow, wasn’t that nice – I’m famous !!”    He wasn’t impressed.
Are you famous when, people that you don’t recognise, recognise you ?  M’mmm, maybe – in a small way, I want to think so.
But that brief encounter made me feel great !

You may understand my curiosity in this, when I tell you that I have always had a secret hankering after greatness. Not so much now anymore, but I really wanted to be great -and really am not !    However this random encounter brought to mind the question of greatness.  What does it mean to be great ?  What is greatness ?  Is it wrong to want to be great ?   It is something I have always kept secret because I think of things I can’t attain, yet want to.
Perhaps there are seeds of greatness in all of us, but if these don’t sprout,  they will lie dormant, then they will die.
Perhaps to strive for greatness comes from a personal need – a cup half full.  Comparing yourself with others.  Rejection – a need to prove oneself.    Need for recognition, affirmation and appreciation ?
Now Recognition is an interesting thing  –  is that not how the whole corporate world of business moves itself forward, with recognition and reward.  Incentives that want us to do better, go further and  achieve great things ?  Ambition is not a bad thing in itself.

William Shakespeare said :  Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Greatness in Biblical proportions :
Abraham obeyed his call and became great.   Moses delivered God’s people from oppression and became great.  David worshipped God while tending his sheep and became great.  Solomon built a temple for God and became great.  The Prophets, the Poets and the Psalmists all became great in expressing their words in truth.  The Disciples of Jesus became great as they followed Him.    Paul, the revelator of mysteries in Christ,  his writings and the planter of churches became great.  And those ordinary people of great faith found in Hebrews  chapter 11.   Greatness comes from great expectations, great aspirations and great accomplishments done in Faith  – especially when you are serving a great God, for in God lies all greatness.
Even the Disciples of Jesus, John and James had a hankering after greatness and asked Him if they could be seated at His right and left hand in glory. So it’s not wrong to want to be great, its  part of the human condition, right ?

In our history halls of fame and greatness there are many who can claim greatness.
To name a few :
In war –   Alexander the Great, Napoleon,
In politics – Mahatma Gandhi
In art –    Leonardo da Vinci (one of his paintings recently sold for 4 million dollars – the world has gone mad !!)
In music – Mozart, Beethoven,  –   Elvis Presley,  the Beatles !
In sport  –  Mohammad Ali,  the Springbok Rugby team – some will disagree, but I think they are great !
In science –  Albert Einstein (my favourite)
In communication – Bill Gates
And so the list can go on.  There are many great and famous people in our history books.
But how do you measure greatness ?  And is it only time that will tell who is truly great.

To my mind real greatness must lie in the character of man or woman.  And may well be viewed very differently by God than what we perceive to be greatness.
Jesus taught His disciples that it is in serving others for the glory of God that greatness lies – in essence Humility.

It is in humility that greatness is seen.  Humility is all around us, if we would but see it, we would see greatness more often.

So, do you want to be great?  –  I have to ask myself again !


Ascribe greatness to our God,
He is the Rock,  His work is perfect;   For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;  Righteous and upright is He. 
Deuteronomy 31 : 3,4


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The Day America Listened.

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It was my son, who said how wonderful it was that the Pope had made himself so visible in today’s world and how he influences the cause for the Poor and Needy.   So, when the TV announced that the Pope was going to address the American Congress I decided to sit on my couch to watch and listen to what the world’s most prominent leader had to say to America, the greatest nation on earth.

I was quite composed until I heard the slow gentleness of the Pope’s voice greet, and meet America, with the strong resonance to patriotism – for Americans love America ! There was a move in the spirit of the hearts who listened, as they all became very quiet, attentive and began listening to his every word.    And then I noticed the struggle
the man with the green tie was having to surpress his swelling tears, as he recognised the momentous moment in America’s history. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner appreciated the moment, the man, and the day America listened !Free-shipping-3pcs-lot-76mm-3-World-Map-Foam-ball-Earth-Globe-Stress-Relief-Ball-Atlas

It was then that tears began to flow down my cheeks as I saw a man touched by the Spirit of a holy man.  And if it were that I were not alone,  I would have howled, for it was those tears that gave me the surging hope…. that  man, as he listens to what is good, and gentle, and righteous, and moral,  is touched and moved to tears, even suppressed tears, declares that hope for Man is alive, and that God was watching, and listening too !

Surely such an address must have been written from the heart of the Pope, for it captured so ingeniously what he stood for, what he hoped for, what he subtly chastised for, without actually stating out loud the errors and contentious issues that the new modern society claim as their rights.  How subtly he addressed America on so many different levels, but never accusing or demeaning.   A lesson for politicians clamouring for power, to learn and to practice.
I for one, would love to be able to write with such subtilty and innuendoes, skirting yet penetrating the social issues of our times. To my mind it was a brilliant piece of writing, so graciously delivered to listening hearts.   It is only Love that can do that !

Even as a listening World, we should embrace much from his address to America for all the issues are global issues.  The Pope practises what he preaches, and his most endearing quality, to my mind is his refreshing humility, and his mindfulness of the preciousness of Life, and of the Poor.  This Pope may well leave the legacy of  bringing man back to our humanity. For in the race for fame prosperity and power we, on this side of the history scale, have for all intents and purposes, lost or misplaced our humanity.  All life matters, even that of the Earth, and we all need to respect the dignity of life; and each other.   A little humility will go a long way.

It was indeed a moment in our time, that may make for a better world, if we would just listen… and hear…. and do.

God bless America as she listens ! download (3)