“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Just the other day, when I opened a particular social media app, I saw a quote in my newsfeed that said “Don’t let anyone steal your crown!” Underneath it were dozens upon dozens of ‘likes’ and ‘amens.’
I see a lot of those sort of quotes, focused on my royalty in Christ, and my standing as a “Kings kid”, my role or ministry in the Kingdom of God.
Funnily enough though, quotes about servant-hood or humility are far thinner on the ground. It begs the question, are we too focused on self? Yes, the Bible does teach that as believers in Jesus we are “no longer slaves, but sons” (and daughters.) But but we are also called to be servants, and Jesus Himself led the way for us in servant-hood.
Most of us (including myself) could learn much from John the Baptist. He had fame and a following that modern “celebrity preachers” might only dream of, yet he was an example of true humility.
John the Baptist’s disciples were alarmed that, “all are coming to Him” (Jesus). But it didn’t phase John one bit. He was not about to let rivalry or the idle talk of the fickle crowds cause him to lose focus on his mission: to announce the Messiah, and then step back and let all focus be on Jesus.
John said to those people who were grumbling: “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 3:27-30
Everything I Have is a Gift from God
We would do well to remind ourselves of this, daily. John saw everything he had as a gift from God. That included his role in God’s purposes. He explained it, in simple terms. It was to be what we would call ‘the best man’ to the Bridegroom.
John knew his calling and his place. He didn’t have an overinflated sense of importance – he didn’t imagine he was the Messiah, but, equally important, he didn’t have too low an opinion of himself, either, thinking he had no place or calling in God’s great plan.
The Friend of the Bridegroom
John’s knew his calling. He was not the bridegroom, not the focus of attention – after all, when is the best man ever the focus of attention? He is there merely to assist in the preparations, and then he steps back. The big day is not about the best man. And John was perfectly happy with that. In fact, John said he was “filled with joy.” Not only was John not phased by Jesus’ increasing success and his own dwindling following, he was delighted to his very core at the news his followers had brought about Jesus.
He must increase, but I must decrease
John understood that it was now time for him to step out of the way, to make way for Jesus; it was good, and right that he should become less visible, and Jesus more visible and known.
“I must decrease and He must increase” – How many great preachers with power-filled, anointed ministries, are more than happy to step out of the spotlight and say, “it’s not me guys, it’s only Jesus – all I have comes from Him.”
Let’s step out of the way for Jesus to shine in and through us in everything we do today, tomorrow and every day; whether you’re the pastor of a big thriving church, or the cleaner of that same church, an office manager or an office clerk, whether a stay at home parent, or a teenager of one of the above. It’s not about us, or letting “my light shine” but the light of Jesus and only Jesus.
May be increasingly visible, and we less and less. After all, everything we have comes from Him in the first place!
PS, below is a handmade necklace from my Etsy shop Miss Maisie’s Wee Shop.
A hand-stamped heart pendant, based on Song of Solomon 2:16. On the front is: “My Beloved is mine and I am His.” On the back I have engraved, simply, “Yeshua” (this, rather that “Jesus,” not to sound clever, but because I just happened to be listening to the beautiful worship song ‘Yeshua’ by Upper Room, while I was making this piece, and was totally captivated by it.) 😉
For further details, shipping etc, follow link below.