Real greatness


Lunchbox with Fr. TJ


One fine day, I was on my way back to the seminary riding the train, I saw a big billboard of a clothing brand searching for new models. The contest was entitled “Be Famous or Be Anonymous”. I noticed that the photo of an actor under the “ Be Famous” category was colored while the photo of the same actor under “ Be Anonymous” was in black and white.

Instantly my reflective mood made me conclude that the advertisement was implying that to live in anonymity is drab and senseless, while to be in the limelight is colorful and fun. A lot of people nowadays think that being great is achieving popularity, amassing possessions, and having power even at the expense of others. But is that what it really takes to be great? Let me share with you three simple steps that can lead us to real greatness.

Step #1 Make God your no. 1 priority. In the First Reading, Peter and the apostles strongly affirmed their love for God when they said, “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29). Temptations are everywhere. They allure us to apparently be more attracted to things that unconsciously we begin to worship. As a result, these things take away the place of God in our lives. It is a violation of the First Commandment.

However, if you obey God who calls you to stop cheating and all forms of corruption, then you’re making God as your top priority. As Charles Spurgeon would say, “The more of Heaven there is in our lives, the less of earth we shall covet.” In what way do you prioritize God’s Will in your life?

Step #2 Go out of your comfort zone. The Second Reading proclaims, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory, and blessings” (Rev. 5:12). Jesus never had a smooth sailing life. He had gone through tough times. In the same way, there are times we need to take risk to face life’s challenges to become better and stronger individuals. Going out from our comfort zones helps us to discover our maximum potentials in order to realize major breakthroughs and the best things in life. Consequently, this may bring us out of the limelight. However, Jesus, who also went through the same discomfort, will never fail to comfort us and use our sufferings for His Glory. What are your life’s comfort zones and how do you use them to get closer to Him who suffered and died for us?

Step #3 Take charge of God’s work. God’s work is the greatest work we can ever do in our lifetime. In the Gospel, Jesus gave Peter a three-fold instruction, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17). If we look at the life of Jesus, we can see that He never lived a prominent life. But in the end, He became the greatest of all men as He was exalted by the Father because of the Father’s works He performed. Each one of us is working in different fields.

Nonetheless, we can always make use of our work for the service of God. A good friend of mine owns a successful hardware and construction supply business. Yet, she maintains an active church involvement by providing basics needs for feeding program and medical mission, and financial assistance in the construction projects of their church. It’s sad to think that many of us are so parsimonious and close-fisted because we are afraid of losing what we have. How can you use your work in promoting God’s Kingdom here on earth?