We live in a nation, and perhaps even a world, obsessed with greatness. We admire greatness in all its various incarnations. Depending on their areas of interest, people will go to amazing lengths creating lists recounting the top entries in various areas, posting blogs and encouraging debate. We have countdown lists for the greatest presidents and for the greatest moneymakers of all time. In the sports world such lists have become practically mandatory, ranking the greatest players in any given sport and sometimes in team sports according to position. Everyone has his own criteria for ranking greatness; therefore, the debate is endless. Who is the greatest quarterback of all time? Which matters more, Super Bowl wins or statistics? How do you account for the differences in eras? Even people in the ancient world enjoyed making lists; they invented it. After all, that is why we know about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Of course, all of these things measure greatness in purely worldly terms. It might refer to grandeur of design, physical prowess, economic know-how, or statesmanship. However, in the final, very brief chapter of Esther, the inspired record notes Mordecai’s inclusion in the Persian chronicles as “the greatness of Mordecai” and then offers the further explanation, “For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen” (Est. 10:3).
While Mordecai certainly served Xerxes well as part of his administration, the greatness identified for our benefit centered rather on his relationship with his fellow Jews. Mordecai’s role among his people came from his service to them and the care he showed toward them. The rest of the Jews did not care how good an administrator Mordecai was, how well he kept financial records, or how high a post he held in the government. What mattered to them was his willingness to sacrifice his position in the king’s gate for their own personal well being. This simple fact should resonate with all Christians today. Rather than seeking recognition and honor through worldly accolades in a hostile society, we should make our faithfulness to God (Rev. 2:10), our love for one another (Jn. 13:34-35), and our unity in Christ (Jn. 17:21) our focus more than ever. Instead of self-preservation, our hearts should remain steadily on an undying identification with our Savior and the promotion of His will (Matt. 10:28; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 12:1-2). As Mordecai proved, true greatness does not depend upon reaching the heights of your profession, becoming financially independent, or having a massive personal following. True greatness lies in having a faith so strong and a commitment so sure that you never waver from doing the right thing—even when everything seems to be against you. Therefore, if you seek true greatness, pursue great faith.