Building One Another

E. Stanley Ott


August 10, 2010

Dear Friend,

Some years ago I heard the wonderful Quaker theologian, Elton Trueblood, preach to a congregation with the opening words, “God will make you great!”  Now that’s quite a statement!  With the exception of those people with considerable hubris, most of us when asked to evaluate ourselves would not use the term “great.”


Yet that is exactly what Elton was saying we can be.  He based his statement on a text in scripture that appears in the middle of a prayer by King David offering thanks for the gifts given to build the temple and for his son, Solomon, who was to build it.


“Riches and honor come from you [O LORD], and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all.” I Chronicles 29:12*  Elton was right!  It lies in God’s hand both to make great and to give strength, not just with a few people, but “to all” – that is with everyone –  you and me!


When you think of greatness in a person, what comes to mind?  Competence in a field of endeavor, be it in science, the arts, business, public service or the church?  Some qualities of personality, integrity, character and faith?  What is greatness in God’s eyes?


It’s a humbling thought that God’s desire is that you be great!  Great in faith, great in love, great in hope, great in service, great in your following of Jesus.


The apostle Paul counsels us, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3


So while not thinking too much (or too little) of yourself, ask our Lord to create in you what God views as great and in humility place that greatness in God’s service!


With joy - E. Stanley Ott

Copyright 2010 E. Stanley Ott           

*Scripture from the NRSV