Athlete, Unpack the Meaning of Greatness


Athlete, Unpack the Meaning of Greatness

Morris Michalski

Micah 5:2 (NIV)

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me One who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

When Jimmy Carter was elected 39th President of the United States in 1976, people were surprised by his emergence. He came from a lowly town (Plains, Georgia) whose current population has grown to 716 total residents. 

Carter’s story helps illustrate the unlikely, stunning rise of a greater ruler, Jesus. Christ also came from a lowly town, Bethlehem. Way more impressive, His birthplace was precisely predicted in Micah 5:2, fully 700 years before His birth. 

And it points out three life principles about greatness we would be wise to note as well. Here they are …

GREATNESS REJECTS SIZE. Small doesn’t disqualify. (Neither does poverty or race, ethnicity or education, gender or geography.) The town Jesus grew up in was a lot like lowly Plains, Georgia. 

But God’s not interested in size. The Bible is fully stocked with stories that support the notion that size really doesn’t matter. Who we belong to and what’s in us matters way more!

The only size that matters to God is the measure of our faith and trust in Him. Las Vegas oddsmakers will always see it otherwise. 

They always bet on Goliaths and other frontrunners. They never bet on God’s unlikely heroes … but God throws His weight here. He chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).

GREATNESS LIVES ON. While Jesus was born and raised in Palestine, that’s only a fraction of his story. His “origins (however) are from of old,” even “from ancient times.” 

So when His story lives on from the dawn of everything to now and beyond, that’s true greatness. And when we pledge our lives to Christ, our stories get woven into His, becoming eternally good and powerful too. His greatness sees to it. 

GREATNESS GETS PERSONAL. Micah 5:2 points us to this greatness secret: “Come for Me.” Jesus came for His Father, not Himself. He represented Another. 

He valiantly accepted His mission for the sake of Another. He rose to the challenge. He lived to die. His greatness was defined by His great, self-sacrificing why. 

God asks us to do the same, to rep Him to a dying world. Attaching our story to His is key. 

For Him — on His behalf, for His great purposes, for the praise of His glory — must govern our leadership/service why and any greatness path we trod. When we do, we tap into true greatness. 

Reflect: Do you see stunning, surpassing greatness in Christ? In what area of your life do you need to stop disqualifying yourself because of your background or past experiences? For whom do you live?

A prayer to consider: LORD, thank You for helping me to see stunning greatness in Christ. Help me to keep seeing His surpassing worth. Keep reminding me that greatness must be defined only in eternal terms, and that it has to get personal — for Him! 

Greatness cannot be truly defined other ways. Accomplish this by Your Spirit in me please, I humbly pray. Amen.


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