Grace to you!
You may have heard about John the Baptist. He was the prophet known in our Christian literature as the forerunner of Jesus. I find in his life a fascinating example of humility and I would love to reflect on a particular event in his life as recorded in the Gospel of John 3:23-30 as a model for many, especially religious leaders.
John the Baptist’s teeming number of “fans” wanted to pitch him against Jesus (or as Americans will sat, to pit him against Jesus) by drawing his attention to the fact that Jesus was baptizing at the other side of the Jordan while John was also baptizing. The insinuation was that Jesus was a competitor, a rival, and may make John less popular. Hence those fans wanted John to do something about it. Could be to ban his followers, his groupies, his fans from going to Jesus, or to bad mouth Jesus.
There are similarities between this story and what happens today. Aren’t human beings the same, any where, any time?
Consider many examples in our time, and I wouldn’t want you to limit your samples to only those in politics or in the corporate business or professional world where rivalry, and many times unhealthy competition have been so promoted that they form part of the so-called SWOT analysis. Look also at faith-based or religious organizations. Isn’t it true that rivalry is commonplace as well?
Un-healthy rivalry is a scandal to the faith. Often, the temptation may come from people who are around us, who flatter us; those groupies (you know the groupies … ) who gossip about others because they want us to see them as our buddies. If you are a leader, be careful of those groupies. They may not be telling you the truth.
I see in the life of John the Baptist an honest, daring, stunning humility, which must be emulated. John’s response to those fans of his, those groupies, was: “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before 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; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:27-30).
John’s response was a stunning example of humility. It was sufficient to quiet the mouths of those groupies who like to pit one minister or leader against another due to unhealthy rivalry.
May we as leaders in different fields, and all those in ministries take a cue from John the Baptist and ask the grace of God for humility.
God love you. God bless you.