“Great men are not always wise.”
Greatness is difficult to define. One thing is sure: men view greatness much differently than the Lord does. Some men are considered great because of intellectual power, others because of financial resources or business acumen. But such men are not always wise.
A careful study of history will reveal that men who are much respected and often quoted were men with a teachable heart. They did not have all of the answers. They did not think themselves self-sufficient. They were constantly learning.
Samuel became one of God’s mighty prophets. He would be used of God to anoint the first two kings of Israel. People would listen when he spoke. Yet the secret to his life was not how he spoke, but how he listened. The heart of Samuel is revealed in his prayer as a young boy, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth”. This is the mark of a great man.
A young boy named David would kill the giant of Gath. He grew up to write more psalms than any other man and is forever known as “the sweet psalmist of Israel”. Yet in all of the Psalms David never once speaks of Goliath, only of His God. David did not sing about slaying his ten thousands. His heart is best seen in his prayer, “Teach me to do thy will”. This is why God refers to him as the man after His own heart. This is the mark of a great man.
The Apostle Paul penned more of the New Testament than any other human writer. His pioneering work was used by God to aid in the spread of the Christian faith around the world. The story of his usefulness begins with the question, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” As an old man, sitting in a prison cell awaiting execution, he asks Timothy to bring him books to read. To the end, he was reading, studying, learning, and growing. This is the mark of a great man.
God’s great men are not marked by their ability to teach but their willingness to be taught. Great men never stop learning. They are hungry for more. In the end, the best teachers are those who never cease being students.