"I Must Decrease"

LeRoy Koopman

READ : John 3:22-30

You tried out for the lead role in the class play and you urged your friend Ann to also try out. Guess what? Ann got the lead and you got a supporting role.

You asked Al to fill in for you as teacher of the adult class while you were on vacation. Now the class wants Al to be their regular teacher.

Because Judy was new in town you asked her to go shopping with you and your best friend, Mary. Now Judy and Mary are best friends.

You taught Brad everything he knows about the hardware business, and now he has opened his own store about a mile away, in competition with yours.

Life isn’t always fair, is it? The friends of John the Baptist reminded their leader that the person he had introduced to the people as the Lamb of God was now more popular than he was. “All are going to him,” they said (v. 26).

John’s response was a classic expression of graciousness. Rather than being jealous, he compared himself to the best friend of a bridegroom who rejoices at the bridegroom’s good fortune. “My joy,” said John the Baptist, “has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (vv. 29b, 30).

It takes an extraordinary person to recognize and acknowledge greatness in others, especially when that greatness leaves one in the shadow.


Help me, Father, to swallow my pride and to acknowledge the fine points of others. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.