Tuesday, June 09, 2009

"He must become greater, I must become less..."

What does it mean for Him to become greater? What does it mean for me to become less?

For John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, it meant that all the noteriety he was receiving, all the people that were coming to hear him speak, all who chose to follow him, all he was baptizing...that fifteen minutes of glory had to be yielded to The One, to whom his ministry pointed.

For many of us, great difficulty comes with spending so much time and energy elevating someone else. It is counter to our culture to do so.

We are taught to work our way up the ladder. That applies in most arenas of life. Work hard and gain more. More status, more wealth, more privilege...

There is an interesting dichotomy that presents as a result. For us to be heard on the subject of Christ, we must have platform. We don't just get one of those because we want one. We get one of those because somewhere along the way, our position is elevated... at least within certain circles.

How many business men and women have started in the "mail room," only to one day be the CEO of a fortune 500 company? You know, that place where if you wreck a company you get a multi-million dollar bonus for it?

Within church structure, often times one begins a relationship with Christ, then a calling may come and after time and years of growth, perhaps a nomination to be a deacon. Sometimes, with certain people, one may then be called into youth ministry... and then perhaps an associate pastor... and then one day a pastor.

This is a vast oversimplification and weeds out necessary details of anointing, etc., but the point is, one works with their time and energy and surrender to become someone that other people will listen to. The better we do, and the more time we invest, the higher the position we receive.

It is often taught that the best leaders must first be great followers. This was certainly true of the disciples. At least in as much as they were uneducated men who did not aspire to greatness, but were chosen of the Lord to follow because of their lowly position.

They were raw, seeming intellectual midgets, often misunderstanding the simplest allegories. Jesus was patient and taught them. He poured into them for over three years. Even then, it was not until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit, that they came to understand so much of what He taught.

They did not study for years on end to become the leaders He needed them to be. They were each good at something... but their areas of giftedness were seldom used within the area of calling. Other than in metaphorical sense, what good is it to know fishing inside and out, if you are going to be one who preaches Christ?

Education is good. It is necessary in so many respects. Somewhere along the way, it became part of the measuring stick for whether a man or woman was worthy of being considered for position.

We each want the best for our children. We want them to be educated. We want them not to have to struggle the ways we did. We want them to have "plenty of money" so this will not be an issue.

To be honest, most all of the people I know who have "plenty of money" also have signficant problems or issues that I would not begin to know how to deal with. Perhaps I did not get enough education.

My point in all this, though buried in muddy waters, is that He calls us to Him, and desires that we become less like all of this, and more like Him. When we become more like Him, others are drawn to us for the reasons of need in their lives.

It does not matter what our level of education, or societal position. John the Baptist was considered an outcast by most because of his style of dress and choice of food. However, he was the man God sent to run before Christ, to prepare the way.

He would become less. He would be separated from his head. His life would point many to Christ. When questioned about the Christ and why He was taking over John's baptisms and preaching, he yielded and rejoiced over the Messiah! He sent his own followers to follow Him.

How am I doing at becoming less? How often do I fight for platform? How often do I guard jealously, those who would follow my puny passion?

It is not about me, as hard as I try to make is so. It is about doing all I can to resemble Him. When I do that, I elevate Him. Other desire Him.

When I draw attention to me (which I am gifted at) I drive others away.

I must become less.

I'm gonna go find some leather sandals to untie...



At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Brent. I just did a study on this recently. We have such a tendency for wanting to be the greatest or best. We like the feeling of being honored. But, the honor should not be ours even when we have done our best. It belongs to God.

God Bless
Santa Cruz, CA

At 5:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This morning I was thinking about my son, who will leave soon on his first missionary trip...I was thinking about his lack of understanding, at times,of simple words....or his inability to write well....or his limited vocabulary skills (he was born with complications that affect him to this day). I was wondering how he would do, and I started to get nervous for him, wondering how he will be when he comes back....he graduated this year, how will he be successful in life with the limited communication skills he has...etc....Well, as always, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit through this post...because even though my son is not a genius, or even an "average" student....since everything he does comes at a struggle....he has a desire to follow Christ no matter what, and he has a desire to make Christ known. Glory be, my son is successful after all!!!


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