Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The Ups and Downs of Being A Christian
The past year had been a heady one. John had blazed across Judea like a shooting star, the first real prophet in Israel for four centuries. All eyes had been on him from king to peasant. And he called them all to account, including the self-righteous Pharisees. When John spoke God moved and people repented and were baptized. No one had spoken like this man. From all over Palestine people had flocked to hear him. The oppressed, weary people of God, living under Tiberius’s thumb and Antipas’s corruption, had hope again. These disciples had seen revival. And they had been in the middle of it.
Then abruptly they weren’t. The surge had moved past them toward Jesus.He discusses the disappointment and loneliness, even abandonment, that John's disciples must have felt. And then he tell John's response to his disciples moans:
With affectionate empathy John replied, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” He waved them to sit down beside him. “You yourselves bear me witness that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but have been sent before him. The one 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 complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
We must remember that our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward. Roles will begin and they will end. And the only way for us to end well is if in our heart Jesus has increased and we have decreased.How often do I wish to know exactly what God wants from me? But how often do I not hear it becasue God wants me to be a bit player, when I want to be a superstar? How often do I feel convinced that God wants me to change the world when only He can do that? How often do I take my reward where no reward is intended and in so doing miss a reward of far more value?
If I have learned anything over the years it is that even those on whom the spotlight shines brightest are but bit players. The ones that know that going in really do play large roles in helping God change the world. Those that don't? - well they almost always flame out in a blaze of corruption.
God, please give me serenity in my bit role.
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