John’s disciples came to him and said ... the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us. ... John replied ... no one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven ... I am filled with joy at his success. [John 3:26-29 NLT]
I wonder what it was like for the Baptist and his disciples to see John's ministry wane after Jesus's baptism? These short verses give us a peek into how differently John and his disciples are processing the rise of Jesus' ministry. The disciples seem to be experiencing a sense of loss. Yet John is filled with Joy.
I seem to remember an adage that speaks of how one experiences loss says more about their character then how they experience gain. It is sometimes difficult to watch another succeed. In times like these our own insecurities are often brought to the surface. And sadness, instead of joy, takes hold of us.
I think that the secret to finding joy in such times involves seeing another's success as something given from heaven. In that light, a competitive spirit is quelled. And success, in ministry anyways, is seen as an opportunity for rejoicing. Even so, having this perspective is a matter of grace and humility.
Thank you Lord for the many opportunities that we have to rejoice with our friends in their successes.
... this devotion is part of a series about John the Baptist.