Friday, January 11, 2013

Forward into Less

It is human nature to always want more.    When billionaire John D.Rockefeller was asked how much was enough,  his response was, “just a little bit more.”

Popular culture pushes this urge for more even further.  Watch any commercial and the basic message is that you are lacking and this product will make you feel better.  We are encouraged to be unsatisfied with what we have even if we have enough. 

A person at the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, working 40 hours a week grosses $15,080.  While this amount would make it very difficult for a person to live in the US, it would still be enough to put them in the top 12% richest people in the world (

If you have the ability to read this blog, then you have enough.

There is a similar phenomenon in the spiritual realm.  For a person who has made Jesus his Lord, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the “perceived benefits” of service to the Lord.  When people notice the work that we do, it feels good, but it is not fun to toil away in obscurity or to see others get credit for our hard work.  This can lead to anger, jealousy and bitterness.  I think that is one of the reasons why we need to encourage each other.  But it stands to reason that there will be times when our work will not be as appreciated as we would like.

It is human nature to also want to move upwards in positions of leadership and with that the feelings of respect and admiration.  It stands to reason that we will reach our positions and may feel unsatisfied with filling a role that seems beneath us.  Having to accept a demotion can be very difficult to take because of the feelings of humiliation and perceived loss of respect and admiration.

John the Baptist was losing followers to Jesus, and when he was told this he responded correctly:
“A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’  The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.  He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:27-30)

John knew his role.

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:35-36)

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:1)

This year, He must become greater, and I must become less.