“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 12:1-6 KJV)
There are few people who do not desire to be number one in those things they do or wherever they go. It is somewhat of a built-in craving to be the greatest achiever or performer at whatever they do. There is nothing wrong in desiring to excel in ones performance but it can be bad if the desire is that of wanting to be seen and admired of others. Jesus answer above shows that one must have humility and this is taught throughout the Bible.
In another place, Jesus explained after a scathing denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees made these final remarks to those round him:
“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:9-12 KJV) [Read verses 1 through 12 Here].
There are other things which will cause one to be great in the kingdom of heaven, but it will not be something to boast of. It will be something to be extremely grateful for. In the places where Jesus mentions being the greatest in the kingdom, it has no reference or inference to ones being elevated over others but simply that their humility has caused them to be great in the sight of God.
In Deuteronomy chapter 5, Moses gathers all Israel together and read unto them the ten commandments given to him by God on Mount Sinai. It would be beneficial if one would read this entire chapter to see how Moses emphasized the obedience to these commandments and then in chapter 6 he had this to add to it, stressing strict obedience:
“Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.” (Deuteronomy 6:1--3 KJV)
And it would also be beneficial for the reader to completely read this chapter 6 also.
So never determine to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven to satisfy your pride or to to be glorified above others. Simply strive to be the most humble, obedient and the most productive in the sight of the Lord and you might just make it to be the greatest in heaven.
No, really, there will be no greatest, or ‘top dog’ in heaven except the Lord. Those of his children will be equal since they will have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine referred to by Paul in Romans 6:17.