An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan–the one you testified about–well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” John 3:25-26
I have been in the ministry now over 30 years. Time has given me perspective about life and ministry. There is a reason Jesus spoke of John the Baptist as being the greatest in the Kingdom. He was the greatest because He was the least. When I compare modern day ministry to John the Baptist, I cannot help but feel we are missing God’s best. Note these five characteristics of John’s ministry and life:
- John quickly acknowledged that all gifts and abilities were from heaven and could only be maximized when placed in God’s control.
- John knew his role as “best man” and true friend of the Lord Jesus.
- John found lasting joy from the events in life that brought the Lord joy. He purposed to magnify and glorify Jesus.
- John realized that real wisdom was found by discerning God’s Plan in yourself and then helping others.
- John purposed to decrease in every way so that Christ would increase.
The scripture I used at the beginning was an occasion when some people were informing John that he was losing his following to Jesus. Some ne’er-do-well was trying to prod John into feeling bad about his ministry. This type of talk was meant to make John feel like he was “yesterday’s news.” John would have none of it! He knew his mission and if Jesus was gaining a following, then he was successful.
It’s an ugly game we play in church life. We place religious leaders on pedestals. We take pride in being a part of a group, church, or denomination. We even encourage rivalry between these types of organizations. Think about all the various different religious groups in existence today. Some of these organizations actually believe they are in competition with each other. What’s worse is some enjoy arguing over their particular denominational beliefs. It is just like this passage. Some guy wanted to argue with John’s disciples over “ceremonial washings”. HOGWASH! He is jealous, plain and simple. How do we know? Because in order to score points he tries to make John jealous over Jesus’ ministry.
Thankfully, John wouldn’t go there and neither should we. John had these issues settled long ago. Someone once said, “If you ever wonder at the success God gives you when you’re doing something for Him, don’t look in the mirror.” Some have spent far too much time admiring themselves in the mirror.
We need to follow the advice of the little fisherman. A little country boy was fishing with a makeshift pole, but oh was he catching fish! A city fellow had the finest fishing tackles, but was having no success at all. He decided to ask the country boy about his success. The boy replied, “The secret of it all is that I keep myself out of sight.”
Purpose to keep yourself out of sight this week.