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The Pace of Greatness

The road reminds us of people hurrying to get somewhere. Jesus encourages us to slow down and rest.
Photo credit: Mark Shutt Images

(by Heather Marshall)

Visualize with me the hustle and bustle of a large urban city, crowded with people who are moving at breakneck speed onto various appointments, commitments, or adventures. All singularly focused so that they barely acknowledge the people and happenings around them. 

This is a scene that I recently experienced when I visited New York City. It struck me that these multitudes of people are hustling in pursuit of some form of greatness. The workers on Wall Street were pushing for professional greatness, the joggers in Central Park were striving for physical prowess, and the tourists were running from one site to another in search of a great entertainment experience. 

The world’s message is that in order to achieve greatness in any area of life, you must run hard, strive, and fight for it.

Pursuing greatness is completely opposite in the life of a Christian. We don’t have to pursue greatness because we belong to One who is greater — Jesus is the greatest. 

The book of Hebrews tells us how Jesus is greater than angels, prophets, priests, and the Old Testament heroes of faith. 

“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names” (Hebrews 1: 3-4 NLT).

Jesus completed the work of cleansing our sins on the cross and through faith we are able to come into a relationship with Him; therefore, we no longer need to strive for greatness of our own. We can rest and revel in His greatness. 

In contrast to the quick-paced rat race that the world promotes as the path to greatness, the Christian life is one of rest. We rest in His finished work on the cross for salvation and then we rest in Him, allowing Him to produce His greatness in us. 

Jesus Himself said that growth and abundance in the Christian life involves resting or remaining in Him. 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches, Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NLT). 

Remaining in Jesus involves the daily practices of spending time with Him in the Word, in prayer, and in worship, and just inviting Him into every aspect of our lives. 

I recently listened to a podcast in which the interviewee stated, “Our whole life is about the formation of a character, which is always about practices that are forming our habits and forming the attitudes of the heart and these things can never be done quickly.”

Growing in His greatness is a slow and steady process. I feel so relieved and at peace knowing that the pace of greatness is the pace of love. His love is working His greatness in me, all for His glory. 

Friend, I pray that you too will rest and revel in the greatness of His presence. 

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the Shadow of the Almighty”(Psalms 91:1 NLT). 


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