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Thomas Fitzpatrick: Intro to Greatness

Jessup Chapel
Jessup Chapel
Thomas Fitzpatrick: Intro to Greatness

Campus Pastor Thomas Fitzpatrick introduces the new monthly theme: Greatness. He covers the human desire for greatness, and how Jesus came to serve those around Him to establish His greatness.


Great to be with you this morning. Happy Friday. Hopefully you’re looking forward to the weekend, hopefully a little downtime. About this more, I’m excited to share with you the next desire in our series called desire this year in Chapel, hopefully, it’s not the first time you are here, at least not as a student, if so you are way behind in your temple credits, but we are talking about the seven deepest desires of the human heart, the seven deepest desires of of your heart. And here’s why this topic is so critically important. See, most of us assume that and in order to please God, you need to suppress these desires, or maybe even repent of these desires, turn away from them, deny them at all costs. And yet the Scripture teaches us time and time again, that these desires were given to us by God. They teach us so much more about God. And they actually are the very things that will draw us closer to God. You see, God doesn’t want to just save us, but he promises to actually satisfy us, you with me. And that’s what we’ve been looking at so far. This semester, here are the seven different desires. And my hope is that over the course of the last month or so, you have you have seen how the promise of Psalm 37, for that he will grant you the desires, you will satisfy the desires of your heart. I hope that you have seen how that is true as it pertains to our desire for fascination. Our God is wonderful, literally meaning he is full of wonder. And his hope is that he would blow your mind and fill your heart with amazement, day after day after day. And I enjoyed this last month as we looked at how maybe, maybe you’re fascinated by the life and ministry of Jesus. Maybe you are fascinated by the fact that the God who knows all things, knows you by name. Maybe you’re fascinated by the invitation to go on behalf of God out into the furthest corners of the world, and to spread his light and his love in those places. Maybe you’re fascinated by the crazy wonders that are deep in the ocean. Maybe you are fascinated by by the amazing ability we have to uncover and literally unearth things in this earth. Help us understand the biblical narrative more fully. Maybe you were fascinated by any number of things, but I hope that you are somehow and in some way, inspired, intrigued, left in all this last month by a fascinating God, who invites us to do fascinating things with him. And this morning, we’re gonna enter into the second desires kind of how it’s gonna work throughout the course of the year, the beginning of each month, I’ll come and I’ll introduce the newest desire in the next three or four weeks we’ll dive more fully into it You with me? All right. Any any Lady Gaga fans in here? By chance? Any goggles? Okay, I don’t know what you call it Gaga fan. Gaga for you. I don’t even know okay. A few years ago, she came out with a song called applause. Anybody know the song? I’ll sing it for you. Just in case you don’t really know. I live for the applause applause applause I live for the applause for Jose for the applause. I want to thank I want to thank you guys. Don’t clap That was horrible. Now that the lyrics of that song, they are not profound, right by any stretch of the imagination, but they do perfectly describe our next desire. And it’s a desire that I really resonate with maybe more than all of the others. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m what some people might call a little competitive. Meaning that I hate losing with every fiber of my being. That includes everything right from board games to the board room, and I hate losing. When I was little, I would literally cry and throw a tantrum every time I struck out in baseball. Speaking of throwing things, I would throw the remote control of the Xbox across the room if I was about to lose, or I would turn the system off in an angry tirade before my perfect season was about to come to an end. One time I spent myself so profusely with a ping pong paddle after losing to my best friend that I broke the paddle in half and nearly broke the friendship that this is this is your campus pastor. Okay. It’s confession time. Here we go. And then then there is stacker. Anybody familiar with this little arcade game stacker? Well, I nearly lost my salvation the day I played this stupid game. I mean, I came close to spending time behind bars the day that I played this game. I was at the movie theater. And I made it to the top level of this game and this game little blocks go flying across the screen and you got to stop them and you stack them up hence the name right real creative. Well, I got to the last level five times in a row and when you do the game starts to go berserk right it’s like a little Casino in Vegas. So a crowd I kid you not a crowd starts forming around stacker. Like oh yeah, watch this. Watch this here we go stackers, they’re gonna

look again, right five more dollars. And when did you did you do five times in a row five times in a row, the iPad, which is right there for the taking. It was mine. It was in my grasp. And then when I lost for the sixth time, I kid you not I nearly punched my fist through that screen and grab the iPad out. You would have not thought I was a pastor at the time, let alone have christian right. But I mean, it’s crazy. I want to be the best at everything I want to win. And everything could be sports, it could be hobbies, it could be professional pursuits. I don’t want a good ministry. I want the biggest ministry. I don’t want to just be a good speaker. I want to be the man when it comes to speaking. Anybody relate to this desire, the desire for greatness? This is so embarrassing, and I have to do it because I lost a bit but this right here is my high school letterman jacket. Okay, take this jacket as an example of my desire for greatness. Right? This is basically an overpriced jacket piece of leather with pompous pretentious patches all over it. Right. Great at this grade at that on the back, you will see I just because in case you wanted to know, here’s my last name, and it says student body president. So my junior year, I decided to run for student body president because why not? Actually was my sophomore year, there was no rule against underclassmen running, so I ran. And I want eat that seniors right. And just so just so you know, I was so excited about that I put this little patch on their first ever Junior student body president. Turns out the first year the school was open, there was a junior student body president. So that wasn’t even true. But I was so arrogant, right? I was so so enamored by the applause of the world. And I wanted people to think that I was great, maybe you can relate. Maybe you can like this desire. This is the desire to be the best to get the trophy to be crowned the king to be carried out of the room on people’s shoulders as they’re screaming your name, right? Oh, you’re amazing. Right, that’s, that’s this desire. This is the desire, you have to not only play the game, but to crush your opponent while you’re playing the game. This is the desire, you have to not only learn a new skill, but to master it instantly. And to be the best at that new skill. This is the desire you have to not only be a great student would be the best student in your class to get the best grade in the class, but then also to be the valedictorian of your class. This is the desire, you have to not only decorate your dorm room, but to decorate so much so that your friends take pictures of it, post it on Pinterest, and then you win an award called dress up dress up. Right and this is the desire we have to be the best. Lady Gaga said it well, didn’t she? we lifted the applause. The applause applause apart, right? We live for the applause. Now if you doubt that you are driven by this particular desire. Just wait until somebody else receives the credit. Maybe the credit that you thought you deserved. If you doubt that you are driven by this particular desire, just just wait until that promotion or that that job or that that that standing ovation goes to somebody else, and then you will see just how deep this desire goes. We all have it. We all want to be great. The question is why? Why do we want to be the best? Why do we want to stand out? Why do we want other people to stand in all of us? I think the answer is found in nearly every page of Scripture. You have to look very far to figure out why you want to be great. Let me read a couple of these for you this morning. The first is first Chronicles 16 four great is the Lord and most worthy of praise. He is to be feared above all Gods for all the gods of the nations are idols but the Lord made the heavens splendor and majesty are before him strength and joy are literally his dwelling place. Or how about Psalm 95, which says this? Come let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let a shout aloud to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Why? For the Lord is the great God, the great king above all gods in His hands are the depths of the earth and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is his for he made it and his hands formed the dry


You want to be great, because the God who made you is great. You want to be powerful, because the God who called you into existence is powerful. You want to be praised by others because the God who formed you in your mother’s womb is worthy to be praised by others Are you with me? He is the great God The Great King above all Gods The Scripture says there is no god like him in heaven above or on earth below. From calling out the galaxy at the beginning to calling each star out by name every night, from parting the Red Sea to walking on the Galilean sea, from being the author of life to the only one who was strong enough to defeat death, our God is a great God. And listen closely, you have been made in His image. His greatness, his DNA literally runs through your veins, that is the stock from which you have been made. It’s not one, it’s not wrong to to be great or to want to be great or don’t want to be the best. It’s how you have been hardwired. It’s what you were created for greatness. But as is the case with most desires, there is a dark side to this one, right? You can go ahead and use your your best Darth Vader voice at this point, there is a dark side to this desire. Think about this. In trying to find satisfaction to this desire, we tend to look down at others, if not abuse others that we can promote and push ourselves. We develop arrogant, ungrateful hearts, we feel as if we always deserve more attention than what the world is showing us. We allow pride and egotism and vanity to dominate our lives. Because I’m a big deal. Darn it. And everybody else should know that. As the superstar athlete who gave into performance enhancing drugs, right, your desire for greatness can cause you to do some crazy, crazy things. Or for others of us. Our desire for greatness manifests itself in a perfectionistic spirit. Which nearly always leads to self criticism, even condemnation. We hear a parent’s voice saying something like Why can’t you be better at this? or Why can’t you be as good at such and such as, as your brother or sister is? We hear these voices beating us up? making us feel anything but great. He with me is that there’s a dark side to our desire for greatness. If we’re not careful, that desire for greatness can leave us feeling anything. But let’s go back to God’s words just for me, because I think they are profound. We live for the applause. At one level or another. That is true for all of us. The question is, who’s, whose applause Are you living for? Are you waiting for the applause of that pretty girl across the room? That that cute guy? Are you looking for the applause of the coach or the crowd?

Are you looking for the applause of one of the professor, maybe the guidance counselor, the admissions counselor, because true greatness. Eternal greatness is only achieved as you live for the applause of heaven. If you’re going to live out God’s words, my goat, go ahead. That’s what you were created to do live for the applause. But make sure it’s the correct audience that is applauding. Reminds me of the high school freshmen in Oregon who scored the winning basket in the championship basketball game last year, the crowd went wild. Only problem was he scored it for the wrong team. He received a lot of applause. But it’s not the kind of one. And is that true for many of us in this life. We were receiving an applause but it’s not the kind that we want. Because you see the applause of the world. It’s it’s relatively easy to get, which means it’s also relatively easy to lose. What impresses the crowds is fickle. It’s fake. And it’s very fleeting. Think about this for a second. If I were to ask you who won the Super Bowl two years ago, three years ago, who had you know, who was who was the star of the movie two years ago? One, you know, Best Actor three years ago, last year, what was the number one hit song who was the YouTube sensation? You know, the the the biggest, you know, internet sensation recently? I don’t know. We forget quickly, don’t we? We were applauding them so much and so enthusiastically and then we moved on. Because applause is easy to get and it’s so easy to lose. There’s a reason the saying is 15 minutes of fame. Ask any one hit wonder or child TV star or injured athlete. That’s how long it lasts. Right? It’s 15 minutes, then it’s over. A few weeks ago, I had the honor of having lunch with the chaplain for the 40 Niners any 40 Niners fans, football. Okay, so this guy’s incredible. He was a chaplain for a prison for many years. Now he’s chaplain for the 40 Niners and I’m sitting there like drooling cuz I’m a huge football fan. He’s telling stories of minister into Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens late at night. Here’s the craziest thing about this guy. He doesn’t like football. He could care less about the sport. What he actually cares about is that these men are living for their career. That’s all they’re living for. That is how they have defined greatness. Here’s the stat though that he shared with me. The average NFL player’s career last three years. their entire life is built around a three year definition of greatness and then ask They are done what happens? The world discards them, the world disregards them, right? And they’re not great anymore. And so this man’s entire ministry is helping these guys to understand there is a different definition of greatness out there for you. Sure, be great on the field, but understand that you need to be great in so many other areas as well. And I love that about him. I still ask for a couple of autographs. But he said no, but that’s okay. That’s okay. We’ll take the stupid jacket as an example. Right? Take this, take this piece of cloth as an example. Nobody cares anymore. That this was true. And maybe I received a few applause when it all happened. It was probably just like my mom, right? That was the only one who’s applauding, but nobody cares anymore. And this is literally been in a box in my garage for years. Because the applause is easy to get in, it’s so easy to lose. It’s so fake. It’s so fickle. It’s so fleeting, right? If you want to be great, if you want to find true satisfaction to this desire, then you have to seek the applause of the Creator, not the crowd. If you want to find the truest satisfaction to this earth, if you want to be great, then you have to seek the applause of your maker, not the masses. If you want to be great, truly great. If you want to find satisfaction to this desire, then you have to seek the applause of heaven, not the applause of those here on the earth. Unlike the applause of this world, if and when you receive the applause of heaven, it will echo for all of eternity. It will never stop. So the question is what makes heaven applaud? What makes God stand up and say, Wow, well done. Well done. Let me show you a verse that that totally blew me away a couple years ago. It’s this Luke 22, beginning of verse 24. Then they the disciples began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them in this world, the kings and great men, lord it over their people, if they are called Friends of the people, but among you, it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should be the lowest rank. And the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table, or the one who serves was the one who sits at the table, of course, but not here. For I am among you, as one who serves. How many of you have ever heard a group of guys in particular argue over who like the greatest quarterback of all time

was right? What was the greatest basketball player? everless? Maybe it’s like your grandpa and his friends are the greatest president ever. Was anybody ever been in a situation where hearing a bunch of guys are you? If not, like go on ESPN, anytime during the day? You guys just arguing, argue, argue argue? If you know what that kind of looks like or feels like, first of all, I’m sorry, you kind of wasted time in your life, you’ll never get back. But secondly, you understand exactly what’s happening here in Luke 22. The 12 disciples are in an argument. And guess what the arguments about? Who’s the greatest? Who is the greatest amongst them? And wouldn’t you know it, Jesus walks up. And I imagine in this moment, the disciples Well, I feel like a toddler whose mom walked in and I’m doing something wrong, right? Nothing. Right, like put the cat back and put the scissors down, right? Like that kind of thing. I mean, honestly, you would expect in this moment, right, a rebuke from the Lord. How, how dare you? How dare you disciples ask about greatness? How dare you of all people talk about who’s the best? Are you kidding me right now, I would expect you to say you’ve not learned a single thing. If you’re talking about who the greatest is among that. That’s how I would expect this text to go. That’s not what happens at all. Is it? What happens here? There’s no reprimand. There’s no irritation onto this part. There’s no rebuke. Jesus doesn’t get mad because the disciples want to be great. He actually affirms the desire. And he says this Oh, you want to be great. Do you have of course you do. Well, then let me tell you what that means. Very different response when we might expect right. Reminds me of the time when I was stacking wood for as a teenager for my dad, we would get these huge loads of wood in the driveway, it’d be my responsibility to carry them over to the porch. Well, I thought like stacking the wood just meant moving the pile from the driveway over to the port so I just kind of dropped them all over here to a couple hours and I go home and dad I’m done. Like I’m gonna go check out your work. Great, right so he comes out. Are you kidding me right now is what he says. So he goes over starts to do the three pieces this way, then three pieces this way and three pieces this way you ever seen a stack pile of wood that’s perfectly uniform, straight and easily. You got to have an advanced Mechanical Engineering degree to pull this thing off, right? So he finishes the section and he’s like, son, that stacking. And then I kid you not he says, boom. But he walks away. Boom, boom, I gotta redo it all. But I can’t help but wonder if Jesus was saying the exact same thing. In this moment when it when it comes to greatness. You call that greatness. You call that greatness, accomplishments, accumulation of stuff, the applause of the world You call that greatness. That’s not that’s not greatness at all. It’s not about power or position or your prestige. If you want to be great. Jesus says, you want to be great like God, then you’re gonna have to become the servant of all. And I imagine he probably said, right after, right, that’s right, good measure. We assume that what makes us great is our superiority over others. We believe that what makes us great is our ability to stand out from others. We think that what makes us great is the fact that we can accomplish more that we will shine brighter than others. But according to God, the great God of the universe, true greatness has nothing to do with being superior to or standing out from or shining brighter than others. true greatness has everything to do with serving others. Such a different mindset. That’s what makes heaven stand up and applaud is when you serve other people. And I love to on Wednesday, anybody here Wednesday for chapel, but kind of like this job guru in for millennials, and he was like, hey, crazy thing, you will find happiness in your job when you want to serve others? Wow. I think I think Jesus said that. You will find greatness when you serve others. But it’s not just any old kind of service. And this is where some Christians kind of lose their way. You see in Mark 935, it says this. Sitting down Jesus called the 12. And he said anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all. The servant of all that means serving people that we don’t know, or maybe worse, people we don’t like. That means serving people who can’t pay us back, who actually going to take even more from us, after we have served them. serving of all means serving children, the elderly, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, the imprisoned, even patriot fans.

Like I don’t want to serve them, I want to punch them, right. But serving others, serving all means serving those on the opposite end of the political spectrum, as well as those on the opposite side of the border, or the tracks, he would be servant of all means servant of all. This is how most of us spell service serve us. But you see, there is an i in service because I have been called as a Christian to serve to serve all. And you have been called to do the same thing. And

this would be one thing if Jesus just said this, but he lived in Disney. He wasn’t just talking the talk. But he walked the walk. Listen to john 13 says this. Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew his hour had come to leave the world and returned to his father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth. And now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper. And the devil had already prompted Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray.

Jesus just knew the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So we got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples feet, drying them with the towel that he had around him. And once you understand what’s happening in a text tells us that literally in this moment, Jesus had authority over everything, which means this, Jesus could do anything he wanted. In that moment, his power and prestige. Were at a pinnacle, nothing was impossible for him in this moment. Nothing was out of reach. Nothing was beyond his ability. I mean, imagine that. Imagine that right now. I said, you can have anything you want. You could do anything you want. You could snap your finger and people would give you or do for you anything you want. Imagine you had that ability. Now stop drooling for a second. Let’s think about this. This really happened for Jesus right? But for you, would you make a name for yourself? Would you pamper yourself? Would you hold a press conference and brag about yourself? Would you make a bunch of jackets? Hey, look at me. I’m so cool. But what would you do if you had unlimited authority? In power and resources, we just had a wow the crowds would you live in extreme comfort and pleasure? What would you do? In this moment when Jesus is at his greatest, he picks up not the leather jacket, but he picks up a towel. He picks up a towel, and he washes on deserving disgusting feet, even those of his greatest enemy. I highly doubt that given that situation, given that moment, given an opportunity that I would have made the same choice. I would have chosen the pompous jacket over the lowly towel. It’d be like Aladdin, right after realizing what he has in the lamp with the genie. Like you have three wishes allowed. What do you want to do? I want a basin of water one. I want a towel to and I want to go wash Jafar his feet. Three. That’s it. But are you crazy, man. But I can see Wilson’s character saying that too. Right? Like give me power give me greatness. Give me Princess Jasmine. Come on.

Give me something. Don’t give me a humiliating task to do for somebody I don’t like. yet Jesus shows us that greatness, my friends is not standing on a podium holding a trophy. bragging about who you are and how much better you are. greatness is about getting on your knees, holding a towel, helping other people to realize how great they are. You see, God’s sovereignty isn’t the only thing that makes him great. Although, doesn’t it? God’s supremacy isn’t the only thing that makes him great. Although doesn’t it? God’s strength isn’t the only thing that makes him great. Although it doesn’t. What makes God truly great is that he serves is that he serves. And what makes us great is that we will follow in his footsteps. It will be just like him. There’s a reason the vast majority of the world forgets others. And a reason a vast majority of the work world never forgets about Jesus. Because one is truly great. And the rest are not. So what does this mean for us? Well, that’s that’s my hope for the rest of this month is that in the month here of October, we will talk about greatness in the speakers that we bring in will help us to understand what this means what this looks like, for us greatness at the deepest levels at the god level. What does it look like? And and how do we? How do we do it? How do we take this day in and day out and become great, so great that one day heaven will applaud. And the applause will echo for all of eternity. That’s so much better than winning at stacker. I think right? So much but let me pray that over you will get you out of here God, thank you for who you are. And it is true, you are sovereign and you know all things and so we stand in all of you for that. It is true that you are stronger than all other gods you’ve literally spoken the world came into being. It is true God that you you are greater than all other gods but but it’s not necessarily your strength or your sovereignty Lord, that makes you so great. It’s it’s your servant heart is the fact that you would lower yourself, to come to us, that you would lower yourself to fix us that you would lower yourself to save us that you would come you would take on flesh you would lower yourself Humble yourself to become a man, not just any man but a man who would die on a cross a humiliating death so that we may have life God you are great. There was no god like you. But your greatness Lord is actually found in your humility. Your greatness is found in your ability to lower yourself and serve others and we want to follow in your footsteps the world that is all about being over others being more achieved more accomplished than others having more than others that’s not greatness at all. greatness is serving others. This is so hard for us to do got it doesn’t come natural. It doesn’t come easy. But would you help us to be great in your eyes. But we not be like the ones on the TV seeking the applause of the world. But we’d be like the guy on the corner of of Galleria and Pleasant Grove or wherever it is holding a sign that says Jesus loves you. Or your definition of greatness is so different than ours. Help us to learn your definition and then to live it out. Make it so now I pray that over this student group today would be great. Not on the world’s eyes, but in your make it so in Jesus name we pray. Amen. Grateful for you guys have an amazing day and amazing weekend.

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