“Only God is great.” That was the solemn and unexpected declaration of Jean-Baptiste Massillon as he began his sermon at the funeral service of King Louis XIV.
The king, who liked to be referred to as Louis the Great, had ruled France from 1643 to 1715 with absolute power and incredible splendor. His funeral was held in a magnificent cathedral that was lit by a single candle alongside the ornate coffin. When it was time for Massillon to speak, he reached out and extinguished the flame. Then he broke the silence with the words, “Only God is great.”
We recognize and admire some of our fellow mortals who are considered to be great thinkers, great scientists, great inventors, great achievers in every field of endeavor. In many ways they tower above all of us ordinary people, but they still have the same needs we do. They experience aches and pains. They have troubled minds and hungry hearts. They cannot stave off death nor guarantee life beyond the grave.
Only God is truly great—great enough to meet all our needs, great enough to forgive all our sins, and great enough to carry us through the dark valley of death into eternity, to be with Him forever. When we gather, we learn more about God, his revealed plan of redemption, and the work that he wants to do in each of our lives, to bring us into closer fellowship with him, that we may bring more glory to him.
So we declare with the psalmist, “10For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God” (Psalm 86:10).
I would add that today, I needed to be reminded of this: When this ocean is so big, and my ship is so small…..