John the Baptist said at the immanence of God in Jesus,
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
~John 3:30 (NRSV).
John’s rejection of greatness was at the same time an attraction of greatness.
‘Greatness’ is a buzzword in coaching and self-development circles, and usually for the wrong reasons. People generally want greatness out of selfish desires. No amount of telling some will get through, however; that’s never getting anyone ‘greatness’.
Then I thought, “What’s the quickest, surest way to true greatness?”
Immediately thrust into the nearest reaches of my mind, as if the invitation to answer that question had become raggedly overdue, the Spirit caused me to think: humility.
It’s a sharply cogent paradox.
The way to real success in life is the fight to become less. The way we truly get glory beyond ourselves is by convulsively giving God the glory — as if to staunchly reject the praises that might readily come.
John the Baptist did it and so did Jesus.
The Underpinning Glow of John the Baptist’s Message
This has such spiritual relevance to every human being for all people desire some form of greatness.
The Spirit comes from above and we come from the earth. When the Spirit comes alive in us — despite it being housed within us in any event — we cannot help but draw on, and find our meaning in, the glory of the Lord, in as much as we are.
Becoming smaller so God can be bigger (he is bigger in any event!) is recognising the laws of life and it’s cooperating with the Spirit to a point where due credit is given and glory comes to us whether we like it or not... and we’re never really in a position to reject the glory that genuinely comes from godly things. They naturally effuse themselves to us.
We can’t know joy, not truly, until we place God at absolute first place in our coming in and going out.
For John the Baptist, his joy had been fulfilled (John 3:29). He understood his role as the forerunner; the one people would naturally assume was the Messiah, assimilating honour to him that wasn’t truly his. He was most probably relieved — other than being awed — at Jesus’ eventual arrival.
Paradoxically, though John is deflecting all the kudos and fame from himself onto the “One coming” he is found to be rather famous in God’s court — the eternal riches of glory were genuinely his in humility to have known his place.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.