Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Increase and Decrease

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized—John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison.
Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath. John 3:22-36

We who are leaders in the church are called to be humble, yet all too often we think of ourselves as having great power and influence, acting more like politicians and CEOs. If we have any power or influence at all it comes from the love of God, working in and through us. This is a great reason to be very humble, not judging others or acting superior to them. People need servant leaders, now more than ever.

John is being questioned by religious leaders and his disciples. They wanted to draw John into competition with Jesus, wanting him to exercise his influence and power. Instead, he demonstrated his humility and his understanding of God's movement in the present moment. The world needed Jesus and was sent by God to bring healing and redemption to a world of violence and oppression. We are invited by God to be leaders who can make room for the activity and love of God working in our world today.

I ask God to help me always be a servant leader, putting the love of Christ and the needs of the world always first. May we who have influence and power use it to serve always so that the Divine love might be known again in our time.

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