He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
John 3:30, NLT
Before our Lord appeared, John the Baptist had incredible popularity. Thousands and thousands came to him as he preached in the wilderness of Judea. However, when Jesus initiated His own ministry, people left in droves to follow Him. Imagine having a wildly successful thing going, and the next day having it fizzle.
I have discovered that it is one thing to be the center of attention, and quite another to be a minor player. John the Baptist was the MVP, but overnight he was sent to the farm team (baseball metaphor). Men and women reach for center stage, to be in the limelight. But very few can move in the other direction gracefully.
A conductor was asked what the hardest instrument to play. The interviewer expected that it would be a saxophone or trombone or some other. The conductor just smiled, and said, “The hardest is the second violin”.
“How great victory was that which Jonathan must have gained over himself, when he rejoiced to see David raised above him! He discerned the mind of God in David, and had so learned to delight in God, that he did not see in David one who was to outshine him, but another faithful man raised up for God and Israel.”
–Robert C. Chapman
Jonathan understood who David really was. He had a sense of who was to be the new king. He had a conviction that understood David’s destiny and giftings. Jonathan turned his back decisively on being made king. Ambition was not in his vocabulary. He could rejoice with David. Knowing this, Jonathan became a free man.
We must not aspire to being a leader as much as learning to become a true follower.
The need at the moment isn’t so much better leaders, but stronger followers. Often we struggle with this, somehow we believe, we’ll become “second class” disciples if we submit to another’s vision or giftings. The way of true servanthood is difficult for many. But to be a real follower will often mean not to strive or assert, but to surrender. That’s the way of Jesus.
“Be desirous, my son, to do the will of another rather than thine own.”
That is an interesting place to find yourself. But that is the need of the moment. He must increase, become greater, and I must decrease, become lesser. There can be no room for personal aggrandizement.
We need people who know how to play second fiddle.