This passage has kingdom followers in the countryside raising questions to John the Baptist regarding Jesus and the roles each of the two leaders have. A few of the verses here really got my attention most as John the Baptist clarifies: (V27) "No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven." (V28) "You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of Him..." (V30) "He must increase, but I must decrease."
The world we live in today focuses on the importance of being "somebody." It seems that the lifelong struggles are all about equipping ourselves to become somebody special, successful, rich famous, or at least somebody highly respected for our personal accomplishments. Not many of us seem to be striving for a number two spot, a back seat, or merely a supporting role.
Yet this scripture finds John the Baptist excited that he has filled just such a "secondary" role preparing the way for Jesus' arrival. As I prayed through this passage this week I have been struck by how "equipping myself" for my role in this world has had little to do with pointing the way home to heaven. When I think about the gifts God has intended for me to use, I realize I have fallen short of letting Him use me for my intended purpose.
The message for me here has a lot more to do with setting my personal ego aside to become more fully who God has created me to be and serve Him according to His calling. I am not the Savior. I am not even worthy of the "support role" if I don't understand who I am in Christ. We all have received gifts from heaven. I need to understand how to use my gifts, not just emulate others' talents and achievements here.
In a sermon last May Brother Lee asked us, "How big of a blessing do you want to be?" Then, in July he reminded us that sin is rooted when we resist God's will or His truths; and that we become slaves to the things in the world when we worship them instead of the creator. Then he finally pointed out that God gave us a choice to walk away or follow Him.
So...I may not be a president, an esteemed party leader, someone sought by throngs of influencial people, praised by successful citizens or even a popular peer. I may be simply an encourager to a forgotten or unnoticed child of God. I may only smile at or pray for a person in need. God may require me to advocate for someone who is not popular, someone rejected by this world that doesn't meet the worldly standards.
Just like you, I am who God created me to be. I am deeply loved by the Savior who willingly followed that path to the cross. I pray today that you know this truth too. That you will know and accept your real gifts, that you will also find joy in the journey just as John the Baptist did.