The Measure Of Greatness

How do you measure greatness? Is it by the amount of money a person has or dies with? Do you measure it by friends or popularity? I once heard a definition of greatness that basically said you don’t compare that person with anyone, they are the person that everyone else must compare to.

I grew up idolizing Dick Butkus, the great Chicago Bears linebacker. I practiced tackling like him, I wore his number, I did everything I could to emulate him and his style of play. I even taped my fingers together because I saw a “Sport” magazine picture where he had done it. I didn’t know why he had done it, I just knew that he had, so I did. You didn’t compare Butkus to other players, you compared them to him. And the others always came away wanting. Butkus was the epitome of greatness at his position.

On October 5, 2011 Steve Jobs passed away. I won’t presume to be able to make predictions about his spiritual life, that is up to Jobs and God. I pray that Jobs met Jesus before his death, and I pray for God’s comfort for his family.

I would, without reservation, call Steve Jobs a great man. His innovation and vision built a company that has more cash on hand than the United States government. Although, with our economic woes right now, that really isn’t that difficult! The company that Jobs made, and then remade, is certainly a great company, and Jobs was the impetus behind it all.

From a lowly “build it yourself” computer, to the first Macintosh, to the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and the MacBook Pro that I am writing this on, Apple has carved a niche in the tech environment that few other companies can claim. In the past few months I have gotten rid of all but one of my computers that runs Windows, and I only use it for my sign machine. Everything else, including my cell phone, is Apple.

Since 2003, when the iTunes Store was introduced, Tower Records has closed, retail stores have lost their market share, and Virgin Megastores have been boarded up. Meanwhile Apple was selling 5 million songs a day by 2007. Greatness!

If you watched Finding Nemo, or one of the Cars or Toy Story movies, you watched another area where Jobs had an influence. In 1986 he bought the graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd, and Pixar was born.

I’m not sure, but he may have had something to do with the coffee I had this morning, too. Okay, I made that last part up.

I would love to leave behind a legacy like Jobs, but that isn’t my lot in life, or probably yours, either. So does that mean that I can’t be great? Not at all! I just need to be great where God has me.

I am a third generation preacher. My grandfather was one of the best preachers I ever heard, bar none. He could go from a thundering voice to a tear-filled whisper in the blink of an eye and the congregation would follow him every step of the way. It wasn’t theatrics, it wasn’t show; it was an outpouring of his love and devotion for the God he served. I hope one day to be half the preacher he was.

And yet, I can’t be my grandfather. I have to be Jerry Godsey. My style is my style. I am fortunate to co-pastor a church with a couple of great guys. I love ‘em, but I can’t preach like them, nor would I try. God has put us together, not because we are similar, but because we are different.

I strive to be a great husband, a great father, and a great grandfather. I want to be a great employee of the Sheriff’s Office (I’m pretty sure the Sheriff and my Lieutenant would appreciate that as well). My goal is to be great at whatever I do, and whatever God calls me to. I am positive I fall short in many ways, but I try my hardest. That is all God asks of me.

The thing about greatness is that it starts small. It begins as a couple of guys in a garage cobbling together electronics and ends up as a company that goes into many areas of the world’s daily life.

What about you? Where are you building toward greatness in your life? What challenge is in front of you that you can pour your life into? What parts of your life will people use as the benchmark for others?

We all have the opportunity to be great. What we do with that opportunity determines whether or not we make it.

Thanking Steve… Jerry

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