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Recognizing Greatness

August 11, 2014

 

     I remember growing up in Pamlico County, NC. I remember people saying, “nothing good comes out of Pamlico County.” 

 

     “Everyone just stays home around here.”

 

     “Everyone just stays with their parents even when they get old.”

 

     “There is no reason to try and be better at anything.”

 

     “You can’t be great from such a small place.”

 

     Not all of us heard this. Primarily because not all of us listen to this mess. But some do. Like me.

 

     I have always been very observant. I cannot help hearing what seemingly everyone around me is saying. Therefore, I tend to care about things people say even when it’s none of my business. It’s easily confused with eavesdropping. I promise, I wish I didn’t hear certain things. 

 

     I am optimistic. There is no denying that. I always believe the best can happen. What others consider ‘ideal,’ I consider ‘perfectly possible.’

 

     That has helped me through a lot of situations. I never felt like I was the most talented or the most gifted at anything. That leads to practice. “We talkin’ bout practice?” -AI reference.

 

     For years I would get some lights out the shop, set them up in the back yard facing my basketball goal, and spend all night practicing my jump shot. I would pretend to be Michael Jordan hitting a shot on Ehlo. Jordan on Russell. MJ was what I considered great. And I wanted to be that. 

 

     I recognized greatness. I saw it in MJ when he played basketball. 

 

     This blog is not about practicing to become great. It’s about recognizing and appreciating greatness.

 

     If we do not appreciate the efforts of others, we quickly can become conceited. We view our efforts as the only and most important effort. Don’t believe me? Try it.

 

     Part of the reason I did not become part of a greater faith community younger in life was because I was satisfied in, what I thought, was my own greatness. 

 

     One day, I’m not sure exactly when, I forgot my own efforts. I expected others to believe I was great. I believed my own work was good enough. I thought is was all I needed.

 

     After my grandfather died, I realized the greatness of someone else. 

 

     Many people today say, “I don’t need God.” Why do we say that? I say we because I have once felt the same way.

 

     Perhaps it’s because we have never had to rely on someone else. We feel we have always taken care of ourselves, not accepting handouts or help of any way. 

 

     For others, it is difficult to acknowledge greatness in other people because we are so upset we aren’t ‘great.’ We feel envious. We feel angry they have it and we don’t.

 

     There are several reasons we do not recognize greatness in others. They can all be linked to why we fail to realize the greatness of God.

 

     This past week I was treated to hearing kids of all ages shout, “God is our Creator! God is our Provider! God is our Protector! God is our Savior!” during our Vacation Bible School. 

 

     Tons of people are now saying, “you shouldn’t force your own religion on anybody! Not even your kids!” Let me assure you, at our VBS we aren’t forcing anything on anybody. My child is 2 and is fully capable of telling me “NO!” when she doesn’t like or want to do something. So, please don’t come at me with that.

 

     Back to greatness. Yes, these kids are saying it because they heard it from our directors, teachers, and music. Also, because some of them truly believe God is great. 

 

     I did not become part of a faith community until I realized how great God is. It was not when a tragedy occurred in my life that I recognized the greatness. It was after. It was when people I didn’t know showed how much they cared about my situation. That is evidence of something bigger taking place.

 

     Our world is very “me first.” We are conditioned almost to look out for ourselves. It’s not first nature to look out for someone else. So when others showed compassion toward me, I automatically assumed it was because of something else they had experienced.

 

     I was right. I found out what it was. Or, who it was. I wanted to be a part of it. 

 

     I found out that greatness is not something we keep to ourselves. Greatness is not greedy. Michael Jordan was so great, he had basketball camps and clinics and talked with younger players to help them be better. God is so great, He came to earth and showed us a better way to live. 

 

     If you don’t believe in God, maybe it’s because the idea of someone ‘out there,’ is crazy to you. Even though He’s not ‘out there,’ but is actually right here. But that’s ok. I was in that state of mind at one point too. 

 

     I didn’t want to admit it. Someone else was greater than me. When I found out I was not in control of everything, I had to give up on the mindset that was all about me. The world does not revolve around me. BUT, the Creator of the world does care about me. And you. 

 

     You just might not recognize it. Yet.

 

Nick Lewis

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