He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30
Have you ever felt really in your element? God nudged you to start something and you did. People pay attention and respond. It just feels right.
But then something or someone enters the scene and things begin to change. Attention is shifted. Audiences decrease. You wonder what happened. You clearly heard God call you to this. Why doesn’t it seem to be successful anymore? You question your role.
The disciples of John the Baptist are going through this same identity crisis. They love the Lord. They have been part of John’s ministry for some time now. People are coming from all over, repenting, and being baptized.
But then Jesus comes. It is joyful at first as they hear their beloved teacher announce that Jesus is the Messiah they have been waiting for. They witness the Holy Spirit descending on Him and the voice of God speak as Jesus is baptized by John. They are part of something big and beautiful.
Until their crowds start to decrease. The attention disappears. People are flocking to Jesus instead of them.
They still love the Lord; they are still all in, but somewhere along the way, they have tangled up their role with the true reward. John, their teacher, tries to re-shift their focus upward…the one they have been preparing the way for has come. Jesus is to be glorified, not us.
Sometimes our role or assignment or passion can become our god and even our work for Jesus can take the place of Jesus in our heart. Jon Bloom says, “We must remember that our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward. Roles will begin and they will end. And the only way for us to end well is if in our heart Jesus has increased and we have decreased.”
Questions: God’s Word is such a gift and opportunity for self-evaluation. In the excitement of a role, have you ever forgotten the true reward? Have your roles (even those for Jesus) become the reward you are seeking instead of Jesus? Is your goal always to point to Him and glorify Him?