Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character.

Unknown (by me anyway)

So, I saw this quote on a picture on Facebook today, and it gave me an idea for my thought.  True greatness is found through following the teachings of Jesus Christ. However, most of the world does not recognize this type of greatness. The world sees greatness as a measure of what you’ve done that can be seen; what you’ve done in public that affected a large number of people. In the world’s view, only famous people can be truly great.

I am currently reading the book Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card. In it, Valentine is conflicted because she feels that she isn’t going to achieve the great things that her brother, Peter, will. If you haven’t read any of the Ender books, then let me explain. Valentine and Peter are both insanely brilliant children. There is one big difference. Peter is cruel, conniving, and works everything and uses everyone to his advantage. Valentine is gentle and kind, and while she may use people around her, she doesn’t do it in the cruel ways that Peter does. Peter is going for world leadership, and plans to use their younger brother, Ender, to gain power. Valentine is trying to protect Ender from Peter’s ambitions.

Well, Valentine is having a conversation with her parents when they mention that the very things that make Peter so scary now will make him great someday. Here is the rest of their conversation.

“What about me?” asked Valentine. “As long as you’re telling fortunes.”

“Oh, Val,” said Father. “All you have to do is life your life, and everyone around you will be happier.”

“No greatness, then.”

“Val,” said Mother, “goodness trumps greatness any day.”

“Not in the history books,” said Valentine.

“Then the wrong people are writing history, aren’t they?” said Father.

Ender in Exile, Orson Scott Card, pg 60 (Hard cover version)

The true history of this world and the lives of those in it is being written in heaven as we speak. That history is the only one that counts. And it doesn’t care how famous you are or how much money you make. In that history, goodness is greatness. Greatness by itself is worthless; it is only worth while when coupled with goodness, too.

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