3 Tests of Greatness

“The measure of a man’s greatness is not the number of servants he has, but the number of people he serves.”

– John Hagee

Greater Is the Servant

No one is really great besides God and most certainly Jesus Christ, Who is also God. So what does Jesus use to measure the greatness of His servants? He measures the greatness of His servants by the number of those he or she serves. If someone seems to be great or claims to be great, don’t look at how much they own or how many servants they have but how many they serve. That’s the measure of greatness.

The Number of Those Served

Jesus makes it clear that “whoever would be first among you must be your slave even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28). Certainly, Jesus was the greatest by far, but look at what He did on Passover night. He washed His disciples’ feet, even the one who would betray Him. Afterward, Jesus asked, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:12b-15).

The True Measure of Greatness

For Jesus, the greatest indicator of greatness was not in being served but in serving others. Just after the foot washing, He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:16-17). The point is, “if you know these things.” So I would ask you and myself, do we see that serving is better than being served, just as “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)?


There is a lesson for us in knowing that the measure of a man’s greatness is not in the number of servants he or she has but the number of people he or she serves. So how do you serve? How many have you served? Do you have more serving you than you serving others? That’s not great, is it? Shouldn’t it be the other way around, according to Jesus?