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Happy for You (John 3:22-36)

The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. - John 3:29

Twice in my life I have been promoted to a position over the person who previously supervised me.  I can't imagine that feels good, and I worried they would hold it against me, but I was wrong. They were deeply dedicated to their work and they were exactly where they wanted to be with no desire to move up in the company.  They respected me and they were happy to work with me.  I have more respect for the these two people then just about anyone else in the world.  There is something special about having the humility to be a team player when your internal hierarchical map turns upside down.  

Our reading this week is from John 3:22-36.  Jesus and his disciples traveled back to where John had baptized Jesus.  They went down the river a bit and started baptizing people.  John's disciples noticed that Jesus' crowd kept getting bigger and bigger, while their followers were dwindling.  John had baptized Jesus, but now their hierarchical map was being turned upside down.  They brought this problem to John, but John did not share their fear, he was delighted that Jesus was becoming more and he was becoming less.  

John was happy where he was, completing the task that God had set before him.  He had no desire to move up, or do something bigger, he was simply satisfied with where he was.  This made it possible for him to be happy for Jesus, even at his own expense.  That is a form of humility that is so counter cultural in our world, but having seen it in a the two people I mentioned earlier, I can tell you that this is a trait that catches peoples attention.  When you see people living this way, you stop and pay attention.  

I am not suggesting that you should not have any drive to move up in the world, but be careful that you don't get stuck in the pattern of always reaching for something more.  If you get stuck in that pattern, it becomes impossible for you to celebrate other's success, because you are too focused on fighting for your own.  Slow down and appreciate where you are.  Celebrate those around you.  As John suggested, you can be a friend who is full of joy when you hear the bridegroom's voice.  

God, help us to know when to strive for more and when to be present.  Help us to always celebrate with and for others when they succeed.  Help us to never let our ambitions get in the way of that celebration.  Amen


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