Him more...me less

Imagine being the 'new kid on the block', drawing crowds of seekers from all around, only to find out the 'debates' over your legitimacy are mounting just as your ministry gets started. This is what Jesus encountered as he set about on his earthly ministry. His disciples are with him, he is baptizing people just across the way from where John the Baptist has been at work for a while already. John's followers - his disciples - enter into a debate over 'ceremonial cleansing' with a Jewish man. We might not realize just how easily the enemy will use someone to question what we are doing, whether it is legitimate any longer, or which 'way' is right. It is good to see that John's disciples immediately come to him to seek clarity - to get their understanding of what John was doing expanded in light of what Jesus was doing. Any time we begin to do things for the Kingdom of God, the enemy of our souls will send someone to oppose those actions. Why? Satan is never threatened by stagnant Christians - he is only threatened by those who are taking action as God directs!

John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.” John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. (John 3:26-30)

Notice the response of the disciples of John - 'everybody is going to him instead of coming to us'. Isn't it just like us to get a little twitterpated when our 'popularity' or 'draw' seems to wane in light of something else God is doing through another? John is immediate in his response - almost a 'kind rebuke' of sorts. He actually responds with a heart of understanding - he knows he was only paving the way for the Messiah's arrival and is more than willing to 'bolster' Christ's 'success' across the river. It is a truly wise person who realizes and accepts when God is bringing up another who will become 'greater' while they will become 'less'. Imagine if John had of been prideful or arrogant. He might have found ways to deter people from seeking the Messiah if he was, but he wasn't. In fact, he knew his purpose was to point the way - not to become the way.

God always looks for faithful servants, and he will bless their work greatly. A faithful servant knows when they are called, but they also know when it is time to see the work they have been engaged in 'evolve' to the next level. The message to us today is to be faithful in what God has called each of us to do. Be engaged with those he puts in your path - encourage them to seek God in every way imaginable, then step back and see what he does when they do! God may not ask us to be about the same work throughout our entire lives, but when he gives us a task to do, we are to do it heartily and with a committed purpose. When he tells us it is time to let it go, he always asks us to do so gracefully and with prayerful support of what he is beginning to do through another. Just sayin!


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