“Good To Great”

Good To Great

Joseph…was a good man. (Matt. 1:19)

A dozen years ago I read the book Good To Great. The basic premise of the book was that companies often miss becoming great because they settle for good–good is the enemy of great. The author went to great lengths illustrating how we often mistake good companies for great companies and great companies for good companies. Of course, leadership is the lifeblood of any organization. His study showed that companies in America trending upward for over a decade were led by largely unknown leaders that at best would be considered good, not great, by most casual observers. By contrast, some of the most well known, “dynamic” leaders actually piloted companies that had more noticeable short term success, yet did not sustain positive growth over several years. The conclusion of the book was that great leaders are actually good people; men and women who draw little attention to themselves, build a solid team around them and when they step aside the organization runs smoothly without them. Their greatness is found in their goodness.

As I read the Bible I see four types of men:

  1. Great but not good: Nebuchadnezzar falls into this category.
  2. Neither good nor great: Abigail’s husband, Nabal, would fit this description. So too Absalom, the rebellious son of King David.
  3. Good and great: Obviously, Jesus is the ultimate example of this, but of those born only of  flesh and blood the best examples may be Daniel in the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.
  4. Good but not great: I’ve always figured Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, is this guy, simply because scripture clearly states of him “(he) was a good man” and not much more.

My father in-law recently passed away. Preparing to speak at his memorial I was sitting in his home office when I saw on his bookshelf a book I had bought for him many years ago, Good To Great. Seeing the book caused me to think about its contents and the four types of men in the Bible. I realized that I never really understood my father in-law, a highly educated and accomplished man, yet a man who passed up lucrative offers because of loyalty to his employer and turned down bigger and better opportunities if he even suspected they might unduly burden his family. Pondering this, it came to me that I had always considered him good but not great–a good guy that could have been great if he had just made a couple of different decisions.

But I had it all wrong. It dawned on me that the man whom I considered just good in the Bible–Joseph–was the man our Heavenly Father picked for the greatest honor that could be bestowed upon a person, to raise His only begotten Son. Joseph was indeed both good and great. In fact, Joseph’s greatness was his goodness. Likewise, my father in-law was a great man because he was a good man. His greatness was found in his goodness.

Paul urged the Thessalonians “aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we have commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”

What are you striving for, goodness or greatness?

Pastor Mike









  1. I think that I will always be “just an ‘ordinary’ man” and remain content in my calling-

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