Greatness Is Overrated

The following is written by my good friend Jeff Hill. I use the word “good” intentionally because I believe him to be the embodiment of what it means to be a truly good man.


Few words are more validating or reassuring to someone than to be told they are “a good man” or “a good woman.”  This is especially true if the compliment comes from someone who really knows you well, like your spouse or children.

But is “good” good enough?

I’m not referring to our need for God’s grace, instead just reflecting as a human being, living a good life and trying to make a difference in the world.  Should I not be striving to be “great”?  Isn’t being great somehow preferable to just being good?  The words themselves tend to imply the comparison.  How can anybody be great unless they can be compared to others who are just good?

What are the common attributes of “great” people according to our cultural labels?  Who are the ones with the historical monuments?  Who gets the accolades that come from changing the course of history?  They are generally the ones who have a strong vision and a personality that attracts others, leading them confidently to victory.

But many of the examples of “great leaders” have some pretty glaring personal flaws.  Underneath their “greatness,” is a person who may not be a particularly “good man or woman” at all.

Good vs. Great may be a false comparison.

I’m not convinced being great entails an underlying goodness as a prerequisite.  Families are often neglected.  Lack of integrity and infidelities of many kind undermine the baseline definition of being “good” but it seems no impediment to being “great”.

My conclusions?

“Greatness” is over-rated!

It’s not the “great” people who change history, it’s the “good” ones.

Not to say we don’t need the great ones to lead and inspire, but it’s the good people who make us truly great.  It’s the “good” people who lead families, churches, and communities who will never get the big tombstones, monuments, or accolades but who make the GREATEST difference to us all.

“Well done GOOD and FAITHFUL servant…
Enter into the joy of the Lord.” –Matt 25:23 

-Jeff Hill

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