He must increase, but I must decrease.

“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” -John 3:27-30 NRSV

Until Jesus appeared, the spotlight shone solely on John the Baptist. Crowds from all over the area flocked to his ministry. Now his disciples have come to him and tell John that all are going to Jesus to be baptized. His answer is so heavenly and lacks any trace of jealousy or pride. His humility is an example for each of us who minister the gospel.

In these few words John teaches us how to respond when another's ministry is succeeding. He tells us to acknowledge their success as a gift from heaven and rejoice with them in it. To see ourselves as servants of God and friends of the one whose ministry is increasing. It takes a work of humility to see the ministry of Christ increase in another and decrease in us. Yet it is this very thing that brings unity. For both he who increases and he who decreases work for God.

Lord, help those who minister all over the world understand that you desire them to work in unison for Christ.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

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