Step One of this lesson also on video!
As students arrive, use the following question as an icebreaker. Have students write out their responses on index cards. When all your students have arrived and had a chance to think and write, allow volunteers to share as you record significant qualities of greatness.
- What qualities do you think of when you think of “greatness?” What qualities define a truly great person? Are these characteristics the same? Are they compatible? (The word greatness conjures up imagery of bigger, stronger, best. When we think of a great person, we may think of an especially good person who demonstrates kindness, care, and integrity. A person who has achieved greatness in a typical way can also be a great person. The type of greatness one pursues says something about their priorities.)
“Greatness” may bring to mind great athletes. Their strength, agility, and skills take God-given talent and tons of practice and discipline to achieve. Sports stars are godlike figures to some. We marvel at their abilities and honor the very best for accomplishing what only they or a small few have been able to.
Sadly, our heroes fail us—frequently. There are too many stories of athletes accused of drug use, domestic violence, cheating, or other immoral or illegal acts. These disappointments in the people we’ve deemed to be great makes the uniqueness and importance of the NFL’s “Man of the Year” award that much more significant. The person selected is honored not for his performance on the field, but for a life marked by selfless service to others. Here’s this past year’s winner.
Play the following video for your students [5:35]:
Chris Long Wins Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award | 2019 NFL Honors
- Why do you think the NFL has this award? What message is being sent? (The message is that strength of character is greater than physical strength. It is a reminder to players and fans that football careers and records don’t last forever, but making a positive impact on others can have lasting effects.)
- If you were to nominate someone from your own life for man or woman of the year based on the strength of their character and great selflessness, who would you choose and why? (Accept all reasonable answers. Students may realize how parents and other leaders have gone above and beyond for them or may have a friend or other acquaintance that demonstrates selflessness is significant ways.)
Greatness in the typical sense of being the best is something we may strive for, but today we will see a different example. Jesus, who as God Himself truly was the greatest of all, chose to act as the least of all, in a life of service to others. In doing so, He shows us that a servant’s heart is actually the greatest thing we can pursue.