Faith to Be Less

Smaller roles in God’s kingdom don’t have smaller joy.

John 3:26-31

In today’s passage, we see the disciples of John the Baptist showing concern for their leader, or perhaps for the viability of his ministry. “The one you identified as the Messiah is also baptizing people,” they said, “and everybody is going to him instead of coming to us” (John 3:26 NLT). They knew John wasn’t the Messiah, or at least that he said he wasn’t. Perhaps they hoped his ministry would continue to be relevant, and that he’d receive the respect he deserved as a prophet. For these reasons, John’s response may have surprised them.

“This joy of mine has been made full,” he said. “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29-30). John’s faith in Christ enabled him to handle being less. His faith meant stepping from center stage into the shadows. But John had no sadness or regret; he felt only complete joy.

The Baptizer understood his role. His faithful service—which Jesus acknowledged after Herod had John arrested (Matthew 11:9-10)—was just that: service. John recognized that his primary work was to set the stage for the Messiah.

Our role in God’s work is similar. Like John, let us find our fullest joy in bearing witness, embracing the lesser role that points to the Savior and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:29).