The Recipe for Sustained Greatness

By: Scott Armstrong

Reading: Jeremiah 22:1-9

Key Verse: “Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow . . . But if you do not obey these commands” (Jer. 22:3b, 5a).

What’s more difficult: achieving greatness or sustaining it?

Both are hard.  But many sports franchises have said that sustaining long-term excellence is much more arduous.  Many companies would say the same thing.

Why is continuous quality so rare? In sports, the year after winning a championship could bring injuries or coaching or player changes.  In business, fluctuating markets or new technology could mean a dip in profits.  However, psychologists would say that in most cases, we lose focus, and the hunger to excel is naturally lessened once we have reached the pinnacle of our profession.

This occurs, too, spiritually.  For a kingdom desiring long-term God-granted greatness – and for us, as well – the recipe is simple: be just and defend the helpless (v. 3-4).  But if we forget to do those things, we will fall rapidly from first to worst.  The decline will be so marked that people everywhere will essentially ask in confusion, “Weren’t these the people who said God was on their side?” (v. 5-8).

We serve a great, great God.  And he has made us into a great people!  Let us allow him to continue this great work through us as we engage in justice in the world around us.

“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them” (Acts 4:33-34a).

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