“You did a good job.” “Way to go.” “You’re great.” These are all accolades that we love to hear…well at least I do. There is something wired into me that loves to hear that I’ve done a good job from those who I surround myself with. And I’m sure it’s the same for you. In fact, it is this same desire that drives us to push ourselves to meet the expectations that are often not even put on us by the “others” we long to hear praise from. Sometimes these same expectations even drive us to alienate ourselves from those same people. Sometimes because of our need for success and our need to become the best we may even actually end up doing harm to those we sought to achieve for. Because at the end of the day, when we seek to garner praise from others for our achievements maybe we’ve truly missed the mark of what greatness should look like.
True greatness and achievement in this life should be measured by our ability to give rather than to achieve (you thought I was going to say receive). Towards the conclusion of his first letter to the Church in Corinth, Paul has this to say, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”1 Corinthians 13:13 There are three things that supersede all of history in terms of human aspirations, and the greatest is love. And it’s not touchy-feely or romantic or even brotherly love that will prevail. It’s agape love…love that is, well it’s defined like this, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
What sets this love apart as the greatest is it’s focus. Love is not focused on achievement or reputation or success but it is unabashedly, wholeheartedly, consumed with others. Love is willing to bow out, step aside, make a way, lay down its pride, take the hits, catch the stones, absorb the lashes, bear the cross for another simply because that’s what love does. And yes, we may have a lifetime to figure all of this out but it begins by realizing why we are here. In the words of Kid President, “You were made from love, to be love, to spread love.” And at the end of the day, maybe the accolades and accomplishments in this life don’t matter. Maybe all that matters is that one day Love himself will look at us and how we gave ourselves away, much like He did, and He will say, “Good job…come and join Me and what We have prepared for you out of love.”