Sunday, November 27, 2016

When Yes is Less

 “He must be greater I must be less.”  John 3:30

I recently spent time with my sweet two year old nephew.  He is an adorable guy that loves all kinds of trucks, Curious George, listening to music and reading books.    As we were reading books, hanging out at neighborhood parks and eating lunch together, whenever I would ask him a question that you or I might answer "Yes," he would sweetly say, "Less." It was obvious what he meant so I would read the book he wanted or give him extra crackers because I knew that "Less" was his way of saying “Yes.”

While visiting my nephew, I got to hear Christopher Yuan  and his mother share their amazing life story of love and redemption.  After a life of depravity and desperately seeking love, he has found the amazing love of Jesus.  His message called all of us to holiness.  My notes from his talk included the statement that "the opposite of any sin is not doing the sin but instead holiness." Not doing the sin isn't enough. We have to pursue holiness. 

As I have written in the chapter about Elizabeth in my book Embracing Change, I am afraid of holiness, afraid of being different, afraid of being less.  In most of my life, I want to be more not less.   I want to be more organized, a better time manager, successful, well liked, put together, pretty, healthy, nice… The truth is my list goes on and on. 

Toward the end of his presentation, Christopher Yuan made a comment about being the least.  A light went off in my head. I realized that while my desires to be liked, organized, pretty, nice, etc. weren't bad but they had to become less if God was going to be greater in my life. I have to worry less about how people would perceive me and more about how they would perceive Jesus. I have to be more concerned with God's reputation than my reputation. 

A story about John the Baptist shows how to do this well. John had attracted many people out to the wilderness to hear his message of repentance; but as Jesus' ministry was growing, John’s disciples were feeling threatened. “To this John replied, “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.” “He must be greater I must be less.”  John 3:27-30 

Everything we have from God is a gift.  As John said, "A person can receive only what is given them from heaven." We don’t have to have more fame, be more organized, get in better shape, have more clothes, or be more successful if we are willing to give the glory to God and use whatever little resources we have for His kingdom.  God often calls people that are the least likely to succeed, like Gideon and King David, to do great things that are way beyond their ability and experience. 

God has great things for us to do if are willing to answer his question like my sweet nephew by saying "less" and meaning "yes."

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