Richard Sherman and Greatness

9:53 AMHeather

There has been much ado in the media this week about Richard Sherman.  In case you are as unaware as I am when it comes to details of the NFL, Sherman plays for the Seattle Seahawks.  His life story is one of a boy who survived a tough neighborhood and excelled both academically and athletically.  He rose from the bottom to the top, and is indeed, considered to be a GREAT football player who has overcome incredible odds.


Now, his team is headed to the Super Bowl. 

So, what's the fuss?

THIS post game interview, after clinching the Super Bowl game for the Seahawks.

I was first aware of the existence of Richard Sherman on Sunday, following this interview.  When my Facebook news feed contained approximately 3,003 statuses dedicated to declaring what a jerk Sherman was.  How people were now cheering for the Broncos because of this interview.  How people were obviously disgusted with Sherman's actions.

I was obviously intrigued and looked up the interview.  Honestly, I was expecting much worse, based on the hating going on.  But, I do have to say--Sherman did himself no favors with this interview.  Sure, defenders say--he actually is the best.  He really is great.  And he's earned the right to say so!  Just look at his background story.  Cut the guy some slack.  

Personally, my opinion is that a talented, intelligent man who can articulate his thoughts eloquently should be held to a higher standard. It's reasonable that more should be expected of him.  Don't crater to what's beneath you. One of my favorite lines from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is, "Beautiful things don't demand attention."  As in, greatness does not demand attention or need to declare its greatness loudly and obnoxiously. That is part of what makes it great--it's ability to speak for itself.  

So, a man considers himself great and reacts loudly to poor sportsmanship?  What's the big deal anyway?

This is what I've been pondering this week.  Just sorta mulling it over in my mind as I see links and comments and media coverage on this whole brew-ha-ha. No deep thoughts, just passing thoughts about this whole situation.

Greatness. 

BAM!  

I turned to Luke 10 today as I was reading my Bible, intent to look up a particular passage.  But, I found myself in Luke 9 instead.  I kept trying to shift my eyes over one page, but found myself drawn like a magnet to one particular verse.  Anyone else ever have this happen?  

Then, Jesus said to them [the disciples], "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.  For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest."
Luke 9:48

Greatness. Don't we live in a culture that worships greatness?  The greatness of athletes who reach the pinnacle and compete in the Super Bowl.  The greatness of actresses and actors who earn big awards, dressed in fancy dresses and millions of dollars of jewelry.  

The greatness of fame.  The greatness of fortune.  The greatness of making a name for yourself.  The greatness of earning the right to shout to the world about how you are the best!  The greatness of perfect SAT scores, perfect skin, perfect bodies, perfect families, perfect homes, perfect wardrobes.  Greatness.  

We all get sucked in.  Because we all have an innate need to matter and to have purpose.  We all want to be important.

Yet, there it is.  Greatness defined by God himself.  

Greatness is the simple acts of love and kindness.

It's not complicated.  How to be great.  How to matter.  

It's just reaching into the lives of those around you--the ones who can give nothing in return, or the ones who can.  Reaching out in acts of love and kindness.  Saying hello.  Offering a smile.  Meeting a need.

Greatness. 

Jesus makes it so clear to us.  Yet we continually complicate it.  Greatness is simple.  Greatness is love.  Greatness is kindness.  Looking to those around us.

It has nothing to do with elevating ourselves or climbing our way up.

Greatness is my friend who tirelessly raises money to care for orphans worldwide.  Greatness is the friend on a business trip who bought a homeless woman a sandwich.  Which brought the woman to tears because no one had been that kind to her.  

Greatness is handing cash to a stranger in the grocery store and telling her it's from God to show His love to her and meet her needs.  And to pray with her, huddled there in the frozen food aisle.  

Greatness is pulling my sorry tired self off the couch to go do the nightly mother/daugther devo with my girl.  Greatness is holding my tongue when I want to belabor the point of disobedience even after the message was received.  

Greatness is the tired new mommy and daddy, lying awake for all hours, holding their newborn to help him sleep. Greatness is the exhausted mom of toddlers pressing through a very hard day to fill sippy cups and answer questions for the millionth time.  

Greatness is finding the best retirement facility for your aging dad and moving him there, hanging pictures and taking time to make it feel like home.

Greatness is texting a friend and sharing a verse or saying you're thinking of them.

Greatness is whispering a prayer for someone you love--or someone you don't know.  

Greatness is picking up your friend's children from school to help them out in a bind.  

Greatness--and I mean this is some big greatness--is keeping your friend's 3 children for the weekend, on top of your own 4.  Calling them your own.  Loving them like they are your own.  Because you have made them your own.

Greatness.  We all make it all complicated and unachievable in our minds.  Lamenting our sorry, mediocre, hum drum life.

All the while, we miss the greatness.  We are blind to how we please our Father.  We miss being blessed and fulfilled because we are fulfilling His definition of greatness every single day.

And it has nothing to do with shouting into a microphone after a big game.

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