Posted on 02-Sep-2014

Special feature by Corporal Nathan Chan of 10th Kuala Lumpur Company

We all want to be great. We all want to make an impact, whether on the world or in our respective companies. We are always striving to get better grades in school, aspiring to outrank everyone of the same age. It is how we calculate how great someone is.

There have been many people considered great. From William Shakespeare to Martin Jr. Luther, Albert Einstein to Napoleon. People who have changed the course of history, considered to be of the highest importance, worthy of further study. These people make a deep footprint, yet tower above everything around them.

The Bible, however, tells a different story. In this story, a great man comes not as a prince, but a carpenter. In this story, a group of fishermen are eating a meal, when a captain gets up and washes the feet of every single person present. In this story, this same captain is arrested only hours after this humble act.

...He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet (John 13:5 NIV)

Jesus, our Great Captain was truly great. He was a healer and a well-known teacher. Still, He did not hesitate when doing the job of a servant. Even when He knew His death was near, He did not think twice before doing a servants job. His greatness was not due to his righteous teachings or miraculous healings, but his willingness to act in humility.

This was not the only instance where Jesus showed such a great amount of humility. Before, he had come as a baby instead of a grown man, ate meals with tax collectors (highly despised in Jewish culture) and beggars, submitted to the temple tax laws and even conversed with Samaritans, a people hated by the Jews, thought to be inferior by the Jews. In fact, His most famous deed, His crucifixion on a cross, was also a humiliating one. Jesus was mocked, suffocated and killed for everyone to see.

As if such an example wasn’t enough, Jesus verbally advises us to do the same. When the disciples ask who the greatest among them was, He answered:

Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:4)

While greatness on earth is calculated according to our ability and achievements, God sees humility as the ultimate decider.

What does this mean for us? It shows us that sometimes completion of even the most menial or embarrassing tasks for others can be can be considered greatness. Every small act of kindness, no matter how tiny, helps in changing to world.

An important part of joining BB is developing leadership skills. Most see this as learning how to give instructions and have them obeyed. However, I believe a better way to look at it is to see it as learning to serve with humility. Learning leadership is not just giving orders: it is learning to respect and serve the people you are leading. As a captain put it: “Earning the stripe is one thing, earning the respect is another.” And only with respect can one someone be a great leader.