“He must increase, but I must decrease”
John the Baptist understood his role better than most. He knew what he was called to do and he never seemed to step beyond it in an attempt to accomplish anything he wasn’t told to. His job was to clear the path for Jesus to come through. In fact when some of his disciples came to him one day telling him everyone is going to Jesus John said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ John knew all along this whole thing was much bigger than he and he wasn’t about to stand in the way of anyone that wanted to come to Jesus.
I know this isn’t anything new to most, but I believe it is always good to remember what our job truly is as followers of Christ. It isn’t to build up “our” ministry it’s his ministry and we are grateful to do our part whatever that may be.
The Apostle Paul had a related incident recorded in Philippians 1. He was locked up in prison and everyone, including the whole palace guard, knew he was there for preaching the gospel. Some of the brethren grew in courage to preach the gospel because of his imprisonment. Some, others were preaching Christ our of envy and strife and maybe some from good will but Paul didn’t seem to really care what their motives were as long as Christ was being preached. He said, “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.” Paul knew the point was preaching Christ and even if some were doing it with wrong motives he rejoiced knowing that the message would still be going out.
When someone is a teacher of the Word there is always the temptation for competition. Jesus’ disciples seemed to frequently be at odds with each other over who was the best. One time the mother of James and John came to Jesus asking for her sons to sit at his right and left hand. Jesus’ response holds a powerful lesson for us all. He said to James and John, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” Jesus went on to tell them it wasn’t his job to give them that but the Father himself would make that decision.
After this the other ten disciples became indignant with the two brothers but Jesus told them. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
This truly is a kingdom not of this world. In this kingdom the way to get to the top is by going through the bottom, if you want to rule you have to serve and if you want to be in charge of something you have to have been through something first. Most of all, the key is to always remember Jesus Christ is the point and the only star of the show. If we, like John the Baptist, would simply do what we are called to do and not worry about what everyone else is called to do one day we will hear those wonderful words “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”
Written by Louie