A Misunderstanding of Greatness

I have been watching a new show entitled, Designated Survivor. The premise is as follows: the federal government designates someone from the president’s cabinet to sit out from the state of the union, in an undisclosed location, on the chance of a catastrophe  wiping out the line of presidential succession. This person is the designated survivor, who would assume the office, keep the federal government rolling. Throughout the years, this has been a mere formality, until the unthinkable happens; and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Tom Kirkman is thrutsed into leading the country and the free world, after the Capital Building is bombed, killing almost everyone in every branch of the government. 

For most of what I’ve watched thus far, this president is fighting for legitimacy. As HUD secretary, he never had any aspirations of power; he never even considered himself a politician. But as expected, those who ARE in search of power, are seizing this opportunity to usurp the president’s authority to establish their own. (Great show BTW).

ABC’s “Designated Survivor” – Created by David Guggenheim


This show is true to form, because it speaks to the over-ambition of some, who would exalt themselves. Our generation is full of people in search of greatness, never fully realizing that it is nothing at which to grasp. Here are 5 misunderstandings about greatness that we need to get straight:


  1. Greatness is a byproduct of purpose. Our culture is so riddled with fame seekers, that people become famous for nothing. Having a lot of people’s attention doesn’t create greatness. Greatness is, more often than not, something that is thrusted upon someone who is simply operating in their purpose. David was literally called in from the pasture, and the flock of sheep, to be anointed king of Israel (1 Samuel 16). David’s training ground for warfare and leadership was on the ranch, according to his own testimony (1 Samuel 17). We have to remember that fame and notoriety are not the goal.
  2.  Greatness is service. Jesus teaches His disciples that the pursuit of greatness is fine, but most of us employ the wrong methods. Matthew 23:11 states, “the greatest among you shall be your servants.” He goes on to say, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” In other words, the way up, is down.
  3. Greatness is responsibility. Based on the scripture we was just spoke about, seeking to be served gives greatness away. But facing and embracing responsibility propels people into greatness, far more often than focusing on the trappings. Greatness and responsibility will always be measured by what you give up, more than what you receive.
  4. Yield. We understand the concept of yielding to the greatness of others. If the president were to come through town, the traffic would stop for him. It is proper for the people in the court to stand upon the entrance or exit of the judge. However, most of us will never yield to the greatness within. It wasn’t until Jacob yielded to (his inner) Israel, that he became the great man who God called him to be. (Genesis 32:28)
  5. Greatness is who you are, not what you do. The position you hold, or the results you achieve doesn’t make you great. Even the highest performers won’t consistently perform at the same level. I can remember Mike Tyson’s loss to Buster Douglas in 1990. We were all shocked, because that was supposed to be an easy win. Despite winning back the title in 1996, he was never really the same boxer he was before, perhaps because so much of his identity was tied to his success. True greatness is tied to who you are, and you can be great, no matter what you do, or your outcome.

© 2017 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved.

If you enjoyed this essay, please feel free to share it with your family, friends and social media to help spread this encouragement. Thank you for reading!

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