by Peter Scazzero, edited by Papa G.
Looking over our shoulder to more “successful” ministries is one of the most frequent sources of pain for leaders. It is also one of the great temptations that hinder us from faithfully following Jesus. We can learn a lot from the pattern of John the Baptist’s leadership as he responded to the news that he was losing people to the “new, big thing” happening around him (John 3:26-30).
Content leaders affirm:
- I am content. We need to be able to say with health and conviction, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be.” John the Baptist said “A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Yes, God gives gifts and abilities that we want to steward well. But each place of service, employment, success, or failure is under God’s sovereignty. It is tempting to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open that God does not have for us. But we want to receive as a gift each task given to us by God regardless of the where it leads. If you struggle with restraining you ambitions, take some time to mediate on John 3:27, “To this John replied, A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.”
- I am second. John also said, “I am not the Messiah…I am a friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears him.” John’s self-knowledge enabled him to escape the deadly trap of envy. The fact that he could hear the voice of Jesus and bear witness to Him filled him with overflowing joy. May we never lose sight of the pure happiness found in listening to the lovely voice of Jesus in Scripture, as well as the privilege given us to speak His words to the world.
- I am disappearing. “He must increase, but I must decrease” John also said! John was happy to decrease, even to disappear. Are we? Calvin said it well: “Those so win the church over to themselves rather than to Christ faithlessly violate the marriage they ought to honor.” You and I will disappear some day and God will continue to build his kingdom. May we too rejoice in that process whenever God opens doors for us to disappear.
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—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends 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. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3: 26-30)
What might be God’s specific invitations to you from this passage?
Papa G’s highly recommended recourses—a must read for every lead pastor: The Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality both by Peter Scazzero. Absolute must reads—life changing!