For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to do something “great” with my life. I’ve wanted to impact the lives of tens of thousands of people and leave an indelible mark on humanity. I’d be lying if I said, at times, it didn’t have anything to do with an insatiable desire to be famous.
In elementary school, I just knew I was going to be a famous baseball player. I was a utility player on the field, which means, I could play any position the coach wanted me to and I could bat anywhere in the line-up he saw fit. I was a pretty good ball player. My favorite position was shortstop. I collected baseball cards and dreamt of being the next Ozzie Smith, Ken Griffey, Jr., or Mark Grace. Baseball is where I thought I would leave my mark.
In high school, however, I switched sports and moved to playing football full time. The man reason was because the baseball team had to be on the field at 5 a.m. every morning for practice. I mean I was good, but I also loved sleep. The more I played football, the more I could see my dreams shift from being famous in baseball to being the next Jerry Rice. I wasn’t the biggest, strongest (I was literally the weakest), or fastest kid on the team, but what I lacked in physical ability, I made up for with heart and determination.
At the beginning of my sophomore year, some of the seniors told me they would understand if I quit the team. They said they wouldn’t hold it against me and doubted I would even last the season. Being on the scout team means you’re just a tackling dummy to get the starters prepared. Not only did I make it through the season, in practice, I intercepted a pass over one of those seniors and took it end zone to end zone. I just knew I was destined for greatness, and this was just the beginning.
Throughout my childhood and even into high school, I also dreamt of going to Hollywood to become an actor. I’ve always been dramatic and really enjoyed the plays I was a part of, memorizing lines, becoming someone else, and making people laugh. It was a dream for sure, but I did give it serious consideration as I approached my senior year of high school and had no idea of my next step. The biggest thing holding me back was fear of the unknown. How would I get there? What would I do to survive? Would I be any good? Could I learn to be great?
In college, I dreamt of being an incredible youth pastor that spoke to 5000 teenagers every week and would see thousands of teenagers give their hearts to God. Subsequently, when I became a children’s director, 5000 teenagers turned into 5000 kids. I don’t know what it is about the number 5000, but it always just seemed fitting.
If I am being completely honest, I still have the thoughts and feelings even to this day. But, it’s not about a number anymore. It has morphed into making the greatest impact possible through reaching men, women, teenagers, and kids. It’s going above and beyond to serve the community that I am a part of and to make a difference.
I have since learned a few valuable lessons about what “greatness” is and how I can leave an indelible mark on the world.
1. Greatness happens in small moments with people, not huge, life-altering events.
Coming from a broken home and growing up without a father, I always knew that I would have a special bond with others who have or are currently going through the same thing. Greatness isn’t necessarily about reaching tens of thousands of other people who have the same type of experience. Greatness is making the most of every opportunity to impact someone’s life, here and now.
Sunday afternoons are usually a time for me to just slowdown and me to hit up my “nothing box” because for the first six hours of the day I am managing numerous volunteers, the safety of kids, and speaking to our elementary students. So, before I go to our connect group, I try to shutdown. I’ll scroll through Facebook and Instagram, catching up on what I missed throughout the day. Also, checking to see what people’s reactions to church were that week.
Last week, however, I chose to take on a task around the house. Just before we headed out the door to our connect group, I checked Facebook and Instagram as normal. But, when I came to Instagram, I got a notification that someone had mentioned me in a comment with a picture of me and her son.
*Picture of Landen and me above
Kameron Morrow, Landen’s mom, posted this comment:
“What do you see here? Just two goofy dudes taking a selfie right??! You know what “I” see? I see admiration. I see a role model and a child who needs shaping. I see an opportunity. I see Jesus’ love. I see the start to a beautiful relationship..
This is my son Landen and @sammyfloyd. Sammy is the children’s pastor at our church. This morning after service, Landen came and asked if he could borrow my phone to take a selfie of him and Sammy. Sure. No prob. When he came back, he was smiling ear to ear. He was so proud of that picture. Then he requested I send it to his iPod touch so he could save it as his lock screen.
This might not seem earth shattering to you, but to me, it was huge. You see- Sammy didn’t have a father growing up. And he has made it his life’s mission to reach out to others (esp kids) to make sure the feel their HEAVENLY father’s love.
Landen’s biological dad abandoned him a few years back and life just hasn’t been the same. I’m so thankful for loving kids pastor that takes the time to invest into these kid’s lives. Thank you, @sammyfloy for all you do @fc_tulsa. We are so thankful for you.”
Sometimes we get so fixated on the big events that will make the greatest impact, we lose sight of the small opportunities right in front of us. When Landen had asked to take a selfie with me, I didn’t think anything of it. I wish I would have seen it at the time for what it was. It was a small opportunity to make a great impact. Getting this message brought tears to my eyes.
2. Greatness happens in small moments with my kids.
It is still a tendency for me to strive to be the greatest.
I was even so bold enough to pray and ask God to make His name great through me and then I begin to tell God how He could achieve this goal. Sometimes our “noble deeds” are rot with a little bit of self-centeredness and wanting the recognition.
God has a funny way of turning how we feel on it’s head. And for me it was while praying this way one minute and then seeing my two kids the next.
It was as if God were sitting next to me and saying, “The greatest mark you can leave on humanity that changes the world, is being “great” in your kids eyes. It is being a great dad, making Jesus known to them, and also, raising them to treat others the way they want to be treated. It’s teaching them to love God and love others as themselves.”
I don’t want to be the guy who saves the whole world, but loses his kids. My family is my greatest legacy. Jonas and Eliana are my stamp to leaving an indelible mark on this world.
3. Greatness happens in small moments with God.
Mark Batterson, pastor and author, puts it this way in several of his books, “If we do small things like they are big things, God will do big things like they are small things.”
The small things we need to do consistently over time to make the greatest impact is pray and read the Bible. It seems so basic and trivial, yet most of us struggle to make the time to do either. This way we can effectively commune with God. Prayer is us talking to God and the Bible is God’s word to us. Yet, we tend to rely on our last experience with God to get us through to the next experience.
Prayer, communion with God, gets our hearts in tune with what God wants. It, also, makes the desire to do great things less about us and more about making His name famous.
“We have a tendency to confuse our job and God’s job. We want to do amazing things for God, but that isn’t our job. That’s God’s job! He is the One who does amazing things for us. Our job is to consecrate ourselves. And if we do our job, God is going to do His job.”
To consecrate ourselves literally means to set apart. It’s doing things that don’t make sense to the world, but brings us closer to God.
“Greatness” doesn’t come from what other people (friends, extended family, people I don’t know) think of us. “Greatness” comes from the legacy we leave behind. When people think of us, are their hearts filled with love for Jesus or thoughts of a self-centered person. Am I someone they can turn to and rely on? Do I make myself available to them? Put their needs ahead of my own? Serve them? Lead them towards Jesus?
Time spent with God is the only way we can keep our hearts and minds attuned to those around us. It is, also, the only way we can fulfill loving God and loving others.
Greatness isn’t defined by the job I have, but by the life I lead. Making the most of every small moment with people, with my kids, and with God will lead me to make the greatest impact and leaving an indelible mark.