Never forget the principle enunciated clearly in (27) – a man can have only what is given him from heaven. God gives the growth, so why do we act like He doesn’t? Why do we place so much store by people who seem to be experts at producing growth and telling ‘how it’s done!’?
We need to remember this especially when other churches and leaders SEEM to succeed more than we do. How we handle the success of others is a real test of character. Dallas Willard makes the point that one practical out working of the doctrine of the Trinity will mean that pray for other church leaders and root for them. We will want their success.
John’s disciples seemed to complain about the growth of Jesus’ ‘church’, but John himself was delighted with the news. He recognised the total superiority of Jesus to himself (31-36). He realised that more and more he would have to retreat into the shadows, whereas Jesus’ place was in the spotlight (30). He likened his role to that of the ‘best man’ at a wedding (28, 29).The best man needs to be efficient (and John was very good at what he did), but he must not steal the show. He cannot court the limelight. He wants to see the bride and the groom come together. It would be terrible if he were to run off with the bride. John was watching the ‘bride’ run to her Beloved, and nothing could give him more pleasure. This was what he lived for. The bride and Groom were coming to centre-stage, and he would be able to slip out through the back door.
‘What a blessing it would be if we could enshrine in our hearts this immortal maxim: ”A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven!” What we have is God’s gift; let us hold it reverently. What another person has is God’s gift to him; we have no right to find fault with his dealings with another of his servants. Our orbits are distinct; all we have to do is shine our brightest where he has placed us, confident that he knows best.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.459.
Prayer: Help me Lord to see your glory in the gifts you share with others. Let me feel neither jealous or discouraged. Let me be content to be the best version of me that I can be. It will be because of you, and to you be all the glory.