Skip to main content

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


Popular posts from this blog

Divine | Shame | Humans

Shame is often the only thing between our creator and us. Our reading this week is from Job 14:5-6: A person’s days are determined;      you have decreed the number of his months      and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone,      till he has put in his time like a hired laborer. Job is struggling with shame and judgement.  He is wondering why God is spending time paying attention to him, a tiny speck in the great universe, a blink of an eye in all eternity.  Why would God waste time casting a glance at us, let alone fostering us, raising us, and disciplining us?  He cries out "Why won't God just let us be, to live out our miserable existence?" A friend shared a post with me on Facebook this week.  It was a video of her dog who had stolen her donut.  The dog had been under the bed for two hours before she started the video.  The video begins with a clear view of the dog and the uneaten donut under the bed.  The dog casts glances from s

Justice & Privilege

The narrative lectionary reading for this week begins a 5 week series on the book of Job.  We focus on Job 1:1-12.  This first section sets the background for the parable.  It is important to note that this is clearly a parable, not a historical text.  This means we must look beyond the described events and towards a deeper meaning within the text.   The story goes like this: ___ There was once a man who thought he was good, an upright citizen, a religiously devout man.  He made good choices and avoided all forms of evil.  He was so pious that he made sacrifices in the name of his family members in case they had unknowingly sinned.  He had great wealth and privilege, and so this was evidence of his goodness.   God was so pleased with this great man, named Job, that he bragged about him to the accuser.  The accuser objected "Of course Job is good, you have provided him with wealth, power, and protection. He would curse you if he was not so privileged."  At this, God takes the

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t