Knowing Our Place
Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of His sandals (v.7).
I recently read of a man who started a church and saw it grow and flourish over the years. But unlike some pastors whose fingers have to be pried from the pulpit, this man began grooming a younger man to take over his church. Why? Because he felt God was calling him to do so. And, at just 51 years old, this healthy, dynamic pastor humbly moved on as his 30-year-old protégé took his place.
From this account and John the Baptist’s example, we see the importance of truly finding our place in life. I don’t mean our purpose or vocation, but the point where we humbly acknowledge God’s sovereignty and preeminence.
John the Baptist had made a name for himself. “All Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John” (Mark 1:5). But he didn’t let the attention go to his head. Instead, he told all who would listen, “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of His sandals” (v.7). John knew his place. It was to be a messenger, preparing the way (v.2)—not the Lord Himself! (v.3).
It’s interesting that John was not fully aware of Jesus’ divine purpose when he made his remarks. In fact, his full recognition of Jesus’ divinity would come much later, when Jesus made it perfectly clear to John’s disciples (Luke 7:18-23). At that time, He also said that of all people “who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the kingdom of God is greater than he is!” (v.28).
John was great, because he followed God in humility. And now we—part of the kingdom of God—can live out our greatness by humbly serving God and His people.
What is your greatest struggle with humility? How do the examples of John and Jesus encourage you to be humble before God?