Max Smart from Get Smart was famous for this line but all too often we as Christians have to say it as well. I can sit back and think about numerous times where I missed what Jesus was saying. Times that I was so close but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades. In John chapter 4:10 we see Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman and he says to her “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.” Now it is often easy for us when we read the Bible to look at the people who missed it with a certain smugness as if to say “if that were me I would have done better” but the truth is we miss it all too often.
How many times have we prayed for an open door and then walked right by it? Or how many times have we asked God to provide and then when He does we think we figured it out? I have decided that I am going to make a more conscientious effort turn the doorknobs and if they open a door I will walk through them as the child of God I am. I will be more intentional with my daily praise. Small or big I will praise Him who gives. I believe if I do this I might not have to regret missing it.
I don’t like looking back and thinking what if, maybe, I’m not sure, should I, or you fill in the blank. I am not talking about being careless and there is a fine line but all too often I personally err on the side of caution and not grace. All too often to I pray when I should act. I am not built for that, and neither are you. We are called out of the world to be active. Our faith is in an active God and we should be more like our Father. After all, if He can speak the world into existence he can surely…….
In an effort to get through the book of John and make the post a little easier on the eyes I am going to try (I only promise to try) and keep the post to a page or less.
I am praying for the same spirit John the Baptiser had. I want to be only concerned with people knowing Jesus. I want to be able to say as John says in John 3:30
“I must become less and He must become more”
I don’t want to have any hesitation with it either. I want to know when to prepare the way and when to get out of the way. I have an issue with this because I love to talk (just ask my wife). I love to talk to people and I don’t really care where I am. I enjoy helping someone understand something and also receiving from them. Conversation is one of my favorite pastimes. What I want to know without a doubt though is when to stop. I want to be able to see that God has taken over this conversation or situation and I am just going to get in the way.
John knew what his mission was, he knew that the Messiah was coming, and when He (Jesus) did it was time for John to sit down. I want to be able to do that. I want to know that I have completed my mission. I want to know where to prepare and when the preparation is complete. This can happen in large or small ways.
An example from daily life you ask. I would be happy.
I was recently having coffee with a young man and we were conversing for almost an hour when two women came over and asked if they could pray for us. This was definitely a sign from God that He was taking over the situation. I was so pleased that after prayer had ended I knew my part was done. That I did my job and prepared the way for the Lord, and now it was time for Him to increase and for me to decrease. It was such a beautiful moment I would have only ruined it if I continued.
That is what John is talking about here in verses 22-36. He is telling his disciples that I have done my job and now I can watch and enjoy as the Groom takes His bride. He then goes further to confirm Jesus’s statement earlier in the chapter by saying that those who believe in the Son have eternal life and those who do not are already condemned. He understood his job that well.
John’s job was the same as yours and mine. We are to prepare the way of the Lord. It is not our job to make anyone accept Him, or receive Him, but to prepare the way. 1 Cor 12:3 says in a loose paraphrase that you only call Jesus Lord because of the Holy Spirit. This means we do our part and then God takes the person and convicts as they need, or enlightens as they need. Do you job and get out of the way.
One last closing thought. Sometimes you prepare to a point, and then someone else is suppose to come along and take over. Paul says in 1 Cor 3:6 “I plant the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” Remember that as we minister to people because that is a very important part of the process.
Just a thought,