By Leon Hartwell

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews) – Truett-McConnell College’s Vice President for Student Services and Athletics, Rev. Chris Eppling, questioned students about greatness during the school’s last regular chapel service of the year, Thursday April 23rd.

Eppling engaged the audience and asked them to think about the greatest football players, basketball players, bands, and even composers they knew of. He then asked an unexpected question: “How about walkers on water?” To this question, the crowd replied “Jesus and Peter.” Eppling then described how extraordinary it was for Peter to be able to walk on water and said, “That is a great feat.”

Referencing the book of Matthew, he began the message by saying: “The path to greatness is recognized when we take small, critical steps of obedience. I’ve heard it said that the door of great opportunity swings on the tiny hinges of faithfulness.” Eppling read from Matthew 14 about Peter walking on water and added, “Greatness doesn’t come by doing great things, but it comes as we take small steps of obedience.”

“How did Peter get to the position where he was able to do one of the greatest feats in the history of humankind?” Eppling asked the audience: “Once we see how he was able to do it, can we apply that in our lives?” he asked.

He described the necessity of displaying trustfulness to God in order find greatness, even in times of tribulation and confusion. Moving forward, Eppling reminded the audience that Jesus is more concerned with obedience than with success: “Jesus isn’t anti-success; He is just so much more for your obedience that comparatively, they don’t even come close.”

Describing the situation that the disciples were in when they were on the boat in the midst of a raging storm, Eppling said, “The hardest thing to reconcile here is that they weren’t out of the will of God. They were right where Jesus told them to be. Difficult and even torturous circumstances don’t mean you’re out of God’s will,” he added. “Sometimes they mean you’re right where God wants you to be. That’s not something we like to hear.”

Reminding students of Esther’s story, and suggesting that there is a reason for being in certain difficult situations, Eppling said: “I don’t need to understand…Jesus understands.”

Eppling concluded with sobering wisdom: “We’ve heard about John the Baptist; we talk about Peter, we talk about Paul, Moses…why? Not because of the great deeds they did, but because of the great God they worshipped.”

Leon is a junior English major and freelance writer for TMC.


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