One of the things I like to do as I read the scriptures is write down just one thing, one quick takeaway from the section. For me, it’s a process that helps me move from simply reading the Word to allowing the Word to read me.
It’s a simple practice that anybody can do, it helps to reinforce what I’ve read, and it gives me an opportunity to engage with what the Holy Spirit might be trying to teach me.
This is my “quick thought” from today’s reading in John 3-4
“Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” ~John 3:29-30
Do I encourage the success of others when it comes at my expense?
John’s closet followers saw Jesus as a rival threat to their work, but not John. John had a much bigger view of the family of God than his disciples who’s initial reaction was to perceive Jesus’ ministry as a threat to their egocentric popularity.
John never seemed to have a self-centered view of his ministry. It was never about personal prestige or public accolades. Instead, John was focused on the bigger picture; his vision was for the greater family of God. John never considered Jesus to be a rival. Instead, he viewed the arrival of Jesus as the fulfillment of his life’s work. John’s entire life was devoted to clearing the way so that he could introduce Jesus to the rest of the world. Am I so focused on introducing Jesus to others that I would selflessly step out of the way once others recognize him?
Beyond that, John didn’t just “step out of the way,” he was “filled with joy” at the success of Jesus. John was filled with joy the same way a “best man” and a “maid of honor” are filled with joy when they stand beside a couple on their wedding day. It’s a joy that goes beyond the wedding day and envisions the beautiful marriage that will continue to grow into the future. John’s was a joy that envisioned the greater family of God that would be possible through Jesus’ self-emptying love. Do I have a small view of the family of God, or do I joyously celebrate a big view of the family that goes far beyond my personal experience?
What if we too had John’s greater view of the family of God and were filled with joy when others thrived even if it came at our own expense? The outcome of a transformed follower of Christ who’s vision is for the greater family of God is a life that aligns with Jesus’ reality of life for all instead of a selfish fantasy that promotes “life for some.”
This is what I heard in today’s reading, what did you hear?