Author James Collins wrote the best seller From Good to Great, exploring special characteristics that make great companies different from those that are simply “good.” He shares how they sustain their greatness over time, and declares, “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.”
WE SETTLE FOR GOOD
I don’t know about you, but I certainly have been guilty of settling for a good church, good ideas, good projects, good visions, good goals, and so on. I know I am stating the obvious, but the problem with “the good” is, it isn’t bad. We can easily discern and avoid what is bad, but what also distracts us from God’s greatness is a focus on things that are good, or even very good, but don’t make it to the level of greatness.
FIVE WAYS TO DISCERN GREAT FROM GOOD
Let me suggest five indicators to help us discern what is great in God’s sight from what is only good. Great things:
Align with God’s Purpose. One of the greatest lessons I learned from the author Henry Blackaby is that there is no such thing as “God’s will for my life,” but simply God’s will. Great things align with God’s purpose, which is much greater than anything we could accomplish by our own initiative.
Manifest Kingdom Values. God’s Kingdom is about greatness. It is about justice, mercy, peace, love, and so much more. Anything worth the title “great” aligns with these values.
Stretch Us Beyond Our Comfort Zone. Because greatness comes from God, it cannot be measured according to our abilities, but only God’s power. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul states, “We live by faith, not by sight.” God’s greatness is often hidden from plain sight, showing itself in the realm of faith, only visible to those who dare to believe.
Require a Disciplined Effort. Good things can either be easy or difficult to accomplish, but achieving great things requires a concerted, disciplined effort over a period of time. There will be moments of discouragement and even failure along the way, but the prize in the end will make the discipline worth the effort.
Build Up Others. Jesus is our ultimate model. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve others. God’s purpose and Kingdom are about building others up. The same can be said for anything truly great in God’s sight.
Biblical visionary leaders cast vision, set goals, mobilize people, and overcome obstacles in order to build God’s Kingdom on earth. If you and I want to be leaders like these, we must learn to discern the "great" from the "good.” The five indicators above are a good starting point in our journey of learning.