“Greater” by Steven Furtick
“Greater = the life-altering understanding that God is ready to accomplish a kind of greatness in your life that is entirely out of human reach. Beyond Steve Jobs. Beyond what you see in yourself on your best day. But exactly what God has seen in you all along.”
This is the closest thing to a definition of “greater” that Steven Furtick could give us. Unfortunately, He doesn’t really mean it. It is clear that Furtick has charisma and is a gifted communicator, but that simply doesn’t cut it. It does not seem too much to ask for a definition of the word that you will throw around all over the book. At one point, “greater” is becoming rich, influential, and successful beyond your wildest dreams while at other points “greater” is simply sucking it up and enduring the nightmare that has been your job, marriage, or life. And it all depends on you.
I’m really not out to get Furtick. I had high hopes in reading this book, but there is nothing concrete. There is no firm foundation for the readers to stand on. As much as Furtick might try to sweet talk his way out of it, he leaves us (or introduces us) to a god who is distant and moody. A god who plays with our emotions at times in hopes that we will somehow get it right. A god who is waiting for us to get our act together, otherwise he simply can’t or won’t work. Furtick’s god is not the God of the Bible.
Furtick’s book is misleading at best. He gives no clear definition for the word he uses throughout the book and even as the title. There can be no practical help when there is no practical use for the word. I can use the word “love” all day long, but if “love” starts to mean something other than “love” it ceases to be “love.” Furtick wants everyone to feel like God has called them to be Steve Jobs, but that’s simply not the case. Furtick, to his credit, does not claim that everyone can be the next Steve Jobs, but in ambiguously using “greater” he wants you to think you can. He’s a motivational speaker using God as the means by which you become successful in your own eyes.
Furtick’s book tries to impress us with stories of overcoming obstacles, letting go of past failures, and becoming what we’ve always dreamed of becoming. He claims to have biblical basis for his practically non-practical approach to faith and life, but the misses the point. A point that Furtick could not agree with, but one that he fights against in his book. Jesus says in Matthew 23:11, “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” I don’t think that Steven Furtick would have a problem with Jesus saying this. Steven might even point to this verse when people come to him and ask him why burning their plows, digging ditches, and striking the water didn’t work for them. No one wants to be the servant. No one has dreams of being the servant. No one forsakes everything to be the servant. The focus cannot be on us. God’s work cannot be dependent on our faith or action. “Our God is in the heavens and He does whatever pleases Him.” (Psalm 115:3, emphasis added) Our call is to pursue Christ, not pursue an ambiguous dream of something “greater.”