“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.” (Luke 22:24)
The disciples of old were not at all unlike the disciples of today. There yet continues to be disputes among us over who is the greatest. Fallen souls that we are, something deep within us is forever aspiring to rise to greater and greater heights. Yet, the Lord loves us too much to leave us unguarded in this matter.
When Charles Spurgeon, the great and celebrated preacher, was eighteen years old and seeking God’s will for his life, he felt the need for theological training. Both his friends and his father advised him to attend college. So he made application to Regent’s Park College, and an interview was set between the head of the college and young Spurgeon at the Cambridge home of a publisher.
At the appointed time, Spurgeon arrived and a servant showed him into the parlor. There he sat for two hours until at last his patience could stand it no longer. He called for the servant and was horrified to discover that she had forgotten to announce his arrival, and had forgotten all about him!
Meanwhile the head of the college had sat waiting in an adjoining room until his patience, too, had been exhausted, and he had left Cambridge for London by train without the interview ever having taken place.
Spurgeon was deeply disturbed, and his first impulse was to run after the man, to chase him to London, to explain what had happened. But he took a long walk out in the country to calm down, and by-and-by a verse of Scripture came to his mind so forcibly that he almost seemed to hear it audibly — “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!” (Jeremiah 45:5).
The Lord seemed to be telling him not to worry about the misunderstanding, not to make extraordinary efforts to clear it up, but to take it as the Lord’s will and serve the Lord humbly where he was. As a result, Spurgeon never did make it to college, but it didn’t matter. He became the most successful and influential minister in the history of Victorian England, and he later said that he “a thousand times thanked the Lord very heartily for the strange providence which forced his steps into another and far better path.”
Maybe instead of seeking to be great, we ought to seek to be good. Spurgeon once said in a sermon, “Many, through wishing to be great, fail to be good.”