New Living Translation
30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
John the Baptist had spent 30 years preparing for his career. He didn’t get the benefits of being a kid or a teenager. Instead, he lived in seclusion in the wilds dedicated to God (Lk. 1:80).
For approximately six months, he had unparalleled success in his ministry. He began preaching in the wilderness—not the commercial centers—rather than doing it from a pulpit. The people continued to flock to him, even as he became Israel’s most powerful figure and even affected Roman rulers’ sentiments. Everything was going John’s way at that time.
Then Jesus was baptized, and he declared Him as the long-awaited Messiah (Mt. 3:13-17; Jn. 1:29). The crowds that had previously followed John began to follow Jesus in greater numbers from that time on (Jn. 3:26). His own followers abandoned him in order to follow Jesus (Jn. 1:36-37)
Knowing when to let go. Knowing when to let others take your place. Knowing when it is time to let someone else lead is one of the toughest things we face in life. We all like to think we are irreplaceable.
I am not of retirement age yet, but it is quickly approaching. There will come a time when I will need to say of someone “I must decrease so they may increase. Although it won’t be Jesus personally that I will be decreasing for, it will be for Jesus in that person. I never want to be “that pastor” who can’t lay down his ministry for the sake of the life of my congregation and the advancement of the Kingdom of God in this community. Any true ministry is Christ’s ministry and not mine anyways.
When John was asked about the state of his ministry, however, he stated that Jesus “must increase while I must decrease.” Surely one of the features that made John the Baptist the greatest of all Old Testament prophets is this (Mt. 11:11).
Later, Jesus stated that ‘the one who is greatest among you shall be your servant’ (Mt. 23:11). John is an excellent illustration of humility in the Bible. Humility comes before honor (Pr. 18:12).
Pastor Duke Taber and his wife Sue pastor Mesquite Worship Center located at 140 Riverside Rd. Ste D. in the Sherwin Williams Building. You can join them Sundays at 10:00 AM, 6:00 PM, and Wednesdays at 7:00. Absolutely everyone is welcome and you can come as you are.