Houston’s great minister, John Bisagno, once said, “Great people discuss ideas, average people discuss things and little people discuss other people.” There is a lot of simple wisdom in these words. Here are a few simple observations we need to make regarding them.

First, I think we need to see that Jesus was a great person. He certainly talked about great ideas — His Father, His kingdom, heaven, hell and salvation. He talked about His great work, the Kingdom of God. We must follow Him in our walk and not stoop to become little people. Jesus not only talked about great ideas; He did great things. He put feet on His words and actions in His ideas.

Thus, second, we need to see that great people are not just talkers, they are doers. It is easy to talk and not get around to doing what you talk about. The great man is a man of ideas and a man of action. However, it is not just any kind of action because there are two kinds — positive and negative. Positive actions builds and lifts and encourages and helps. Negative action wrecks and lets down and discourages and hinders. Jesus’ actions were positive — seeking and saving the lost. So we must be people of positive action and positive ideas.

Another interesting point about Jesus is that He was only negative with negative people. The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes (the best people of that day) were all negative people. They were against Him, against His work and against people they didn’t like. Jesus was negative toward them. In this sense Jesus’ negative attitude was actually positive, canceling out their negativism.

All this points to Jesus being a great person. He was great without any of this. Indeed because He was great meant He was positive in action and thinking. What kind of person are you, great or little?

Consider what little people are like. Little people usually talk about great people who are doing things. Their talk is not usually positive. The Pharisees, those most notorious little people, were very negative toward Jesus. They criticized the way He did things; what He said and how He said and even when He said it; where He visited and with whom He visited; and they joined together in conspiracy to destroy Him. That is what little people do — they get together because by themselves they cannot do anything great or good. There are some very obvious things that let us know when we are “little.”

Little people cannot abide someone who is successful. They will talk, fuss and fume. They’ll find something to criticize or a flaw to point out gloatingly. All of this does not detract from the successful. It merely indicates the littleness of such people.

Little people do not do anything themselves. They are good about talking about those who do the work, but they are not willing themselves to work. Always trying to get out of work they have no time to get any work done.

Little people are negative. They have no vision about what great things can be done. Little people make no mark in life but leave wreckage and carnage. They are failures living up to their mottoes — “I cannot!” “I won’t!” “It cannot be done!” Thinking little kept them from seeing the great that could be done.

Consider what great people are like. Great people are those who think big ideas and set about to make them become reality. They are like Joseph in the Old Testament — dreamers (Genesis 37:19). Such people have visions of greatness — not for themselves but for others. This is certainly true at this time in our nation when our leaders speak of our nation’s greatness and goodness and set about doing what is great and good. Then there are those who talk about “building back better” but result in nothing great or good but failure, higher taxes, higher prices and greater poverty.

Great people rejoice in success and when someone else is successful. They know what is great and good. Such success (greatness and goodness) is pleasing to God. It leads to the Lord saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Great people do the work. They are humble, not flaunting their labors.

Great people are positive. They are builders, encouragers, givers, doers, conquerors, challengers and strengtheners. Another point we need to emphasize — “by their works you shall know them.” The little politicians and media today have refused to acknowledge America’s greatness and goodness, criticizing the “Make America Great Again” movement, refusing to cooperate and collaborate with those who are positively working to that end. They have talked about “building back better” but the result has obviously marked them — higher prices, death through the COVID-19, a weaker economy, cooperation with enemies, bigger lies and enriching themselves (not the people), bigger government and higher taxes.

What are the obstacles to greatness and the promotion of littleness? They are:

“I cannot!”

“It can’t be done!”

“I will not!”

“I costs too much!”

“I won’t!” This is the most malicious of all negative attitudes keeping us from greatness and goodness. Refusing to do one’s part or give one’s share is a terrible obstacle to get over. Fostering lies prevents setting things right and doing good.

By now I hope you realize that I’m not talking about fame, fortune, public recognition or praise of man, but I speak about true greatness and goodness. We are witnessing at this time the emergence of true greatness and goodness in promoting the true America that has profited all who are living here, even the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes (Never Trumpers, the Real Racists and the Media Moguls). I am also not speaking about humility when I talk about littleness. The little person will not work; poses as the opposition; and speaks against those who do work; identifying themselves as the most arrogant, the worst prideful and the most obvious little people. Big government needs to be humbled, not mandating vaccines, fostering higher taxes and higher prices. All together we can “make America great again” by refusing, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn said of Russia, “Live not by lies!”

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— You can send your thoughts to drjerryhopkins@yahoo.com, or by snail mail to Dr. Jerry Hopkins, P. O. Box 1363, Marshall, Texas 75671. Dr. Jerry Hopkins is a historian and retired professor.