Short Meditations in John 3: 29. Principle of Ministry
Jn 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less.
In this conversation of John with his questioning disciples we have already heard him saying, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven,” and in that he acknowledged that he was what he was because of his calling and what he had been given by God in his ministry, i.e. the people who flocked to him came because God drew them. Then he referred to himself as the friend of the bridegroom, Jesus, and implied that at the wedding (and the bride is the people), the emphasis is on the coming of the bridegroom and he is the important one, not the best man!
It is thus in this context that he brings us what must be a perfect summary of any ministry that God might give us: “He must become greater; I must become less.” In other words any ministry that we have in the body of Christ has one primary goal: to draw people to Christ – and that’s it! Christ is the end goal for every believer and anything we do in whatever ministry it is, it is to present people to Christ and leave them with him.
We need to examine this a bit more. Consider the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4:11-13) First of all note that the giver of these gifts is Christ himself.
Now look at the ministries: apostles – church planters, church builders. Who is the head of the body, the church? (Eph 4:15) It is Christ, it is his church. Then prophets – speakers of God’s now word revealing the purpose and direction of God’s will. Where does it come from? Christ. Where does it end up directing people – to Christ! Evangelists, those gifted with bringing people into the kingdom. His kingdom! They simply lead people into it and then walk away and leave people with him. Pastors, those gifting with a caring ability. What are they doing? Looking after the flock so the flock can better know and experience Christ. Teachers, those who impart truth and understanding of God’s word, His will and His ways. Why? So the body can be built up ‘in Christ’, strong in faith, hearing and knowing him and experiencing him more and more. It’s all about him!
So in my ministry, yes, I may initially be the one the believers focuses on as they listen to me and receive me, but my goal is to take them closer to Christ and leave them with him. I can then walk away and I am little or nothing to them. He is everything!