“We all want to finish well, but so many of us do not. Why? Because we too easily cherish our roles in the Great Wedding more than the Wedding itself. This is why John the Baptist must become our mentor.”
These words from Jon Bloom struck me this morning. He goes on. “For the past year John had blazed across Judea like a shooting star, the first real prophet in Israel for four centuries. John’s disciples had been right in the middle of this remarkable move of God. Then abruptly, they weren’t. The surge moved past them to Jesus. Of course it was wrong to be envious of the Messiah. But still, how could their beloved rabbi — and they with him — suddenly be relegated to the periphery after all that God had done through them?”
In Bloom’s retelling of the story (John 3:25-30), John looks on his disciples with compassion. He understood their conflict — sincere godly ambition for the kingdom, and selfish ambition to have prominent roles in it. “This was a moment of unraveling for them, of heart exposure.” Then John explains “the bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine and it is now complete. He must become greater, I must become less.”
I was reading something yesterday about Christian leadership as stewardship, how the Christian leader should be a servant of all, and willing to be least. Bloom is hitting the same theme. “When the blessed Lord grants one a role to play, one must perform it faithfully but never grasp it. The role is not the reward. The Lord is the reward.”
I too have a mixture of ambition for the kingdom, and ambition to have a prominent role in it. But we all have a prominent role -- adopted children of our heavenly Father (Gal 4:6) personally welcomed by Jesus our reigning elder brother (Hebrews 2:11) But it is God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who really have the prominent role. May we remember that.
Jon Bloom's book, Things Not Seen. (free to download to your computer or device).