Yeah, you could be the greatest
You can be the best
You can be the King Kong banging on your chest
You could beat the world
You could beat the war
You could talk to God, go banging on his door
You can throw your hands up
You can beat the clock
You can move a mountain
You can break rocks
You can be a master
Don’t wait for luck
Dedicate yourself and you can find yourself
Standing in the hall of fame…
You could go the distance
You could run the mile
You could walk straight through hell with a smile
You could be the hero
You could get the gold
Breaking all the records they thought never could be broke
… And the world’s gonna know your name
‘Cause you burn with the brightest flame
And the world’s gonna know your name
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame
- The Script, Hall of Fame, from the 2012 album “#3”
The above tune is catchy. I find myself humming along to it whenever it comes up on my playlist. But let’s face it, it’s completely a worldly perspective. The only person this song, in its entirety, could ever truly apply to lived over 2,000 years ago – and you can bet the world knows His name today.
Back then, not so much. I mean, He had a following. Enough to get Him into trouble with the religious leaders of His day to the point where they wanted to kill Him. No one else can walk straight through hell with a smile, that’s for sure. But today, I don’t want to talk about Him. No, today I want to talk about His disciples.
As Matthew opens what we call the 18th chapter of his gospel, he focuses upon a discussion that the disciple are having about who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. One of them even asks Jesus: Who is the Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.)? And Jesus does something out of the ordinary again.
Rather than get into a conversation and hash out the pros and cons of various individuals who are living or who have ever lived, He pulls aside a small child and states that anyone seeking greatness must first become as humble as a child to even get into Heaven.
What He’s saying to His disciples is something He undoubtedly said many times over. He’s referring to the least of these. You see, in those days, children had no power, no authority, no true asset value. They could hardly earn a living. They couldn’t take care of themselves let alone anyone else. They were very easily seen as a burden: a mouth to feed and a body to clothe. And if they were a girl – the best a father could hope for was that someday a large dowry might be paid by the person arranged to marry her. The sad truth is – it’s still like this in some parts of the world even today.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that children are worthless. They often bring joy and a keen insight into human personality. They can be the very reason that drives mom and dad to strive harder and reach for more. They can even remind us of the innocence we used to possess ourselves. And the bible says a man is blessed to have lots of them (Psalms 127:3-5).
Jesus is saying, indirectly, that the “disciples had become so preoccupied with the organization of Jesus’ earthly kingdom that they had lost sight of its divine purpose. Instead of seeking a place of service, they sought positions of advantage” (Study Bible, p. 1580). Which begs the question: what’s my motivation for doing the things I do? Am I seeking status? Financial solvency? To influence others?
The disciples have lost their eternal perspective and Jesus gently reminds them of the need to identify with “children” – people who are often weak and dependent upon others. Period. That’s it. That’s the key.
So while the rest of the world may fight and sway to be the G.O.A.T. (and there’s certainly nothing wrong with striving for excellence) – it’s not the end all, be all of man’s existence. Nor should it be. For me, I plan to be the best version of myself that I can be but I’m not going to waste time trying to get anyone else to think of me the same way. I can die in obscurity and as long as I am living in innocence and trusting God – I will be in His Hall of Fame.