He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIV)
I am not particularly comfortable with acclaim, not that I have ever experienced much of it. But I must confess to taking pleasure in the positive feedback I occasionally receive. It can be discouraging to toil in obscurity for long periods of time with no recognition.
And that’s what makes John’s declaration here so meaningful to me. John had been faithfully announcing the coming of the kingdom of God. Crowds had been coming to him. And many of them had repented and been baptized.
But then the crowds started to decline. And his disciples reported that Jesus was starting to attract the crowds that had once gone to John. They were indignant.
But John was not. He knew who was greater. And it was not John. John had come to prepare the way for Jesus. It was only right that Jesus should eclipse him. He must increase. And John should fade into the background and decrease.
And what was true for John is true for me as well. Jesus is the Lord. I am his servant. My service is not to bring credit to me. It is to honor him. The more that people see Jesus in me, the better and more honoring is my service.
Personal recognition should not be my motivation for serving. I must decrease. Pointing others toward Jesus, our Lord, and Savior, should be my goal. He must increase.