Think on this: Being content with a smaller role than you think God should have for you may be difficult. Have you experienced that? How do you handle that? What should you do? What should you not do?
“John the Baptist,” Stan began, “was an interesting character. There is much about his adult life that is worth studying, but his amazing life began before he was even born.”
“Before he was born?” I asked. “How?”
“Luke’s gospel,” Stan responded, “records that John leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, approached.”
“One unborn responding to another,” I replied, “that is amazing.”
“It is,” Stan said, “but there is one specific part of John the Baptist’s adult life that is really amazing to me and has had a very real application to the growth of my faith walk with God.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“God had a specific role for John to play,” Stan replied, “which was to prepare the way for Jesus. John knew that role, who he was and what he was supposed to do. He was content with that, to be who God had for him to be, filling the role God had for him.”
“That’s not always so easy,” I replied. “Often I find myself unhappy or discontent where I am and I wonder why God doesn’t have a bigger role for me.”
“That’s not uncommon,” Stan replied. “And I think that John the Baptist has the perfect answer for me whenever I have the sense that God is not using me the way I think He should.”
“You think that?” I responded. “That God may not be using you as you think He should?”
“Hate to admit it,” Stan said, “but, yes, there are times when I question God and ask Him what He is doing, or not doing, and why. Often, probably too often, I tend to think that God could and should be using me so much more, and I wonder why He isn’t.”
“Does God respond when you question Him like that?” I asked.
“He does,” Stan replied. “However, whether or not I receive His response depends on whether or not I am listening. But when I do listen, His response is usually along the lines that He knows what He is doing. He knows the role He has for me to fill.”
Continuing, he said, “And God usually tells me, again if I am listening, that His plans are a whole lot better than mine. He then reminds me about the first step of discipleship.”
“Deny self,” I responded.
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “John the Baptist put it in terms that he was to decrease while Jesus was to increase.”
Continuing, he said, “That applies to everything about me, especially to the whole notion of what role God has for me to fill on this side of eternity. It’s up to Him, not to me. My role is to obey what He has for me to obey.”
Concluding, Stan added, “Satan loves to plant seeds of discontent that I have to ignore. If God has a big role for me to play, that’s great. If He doesn’t, that, too, is great. It’s all about being obedient to what God has for me. The only thing that’s up to me is whether or not I am going to be faithful in my obedience to whatever role God has for me. There’s another part to this that I have seen more than once and I think may be a pattern. If I am obedient in whatever role God has for me, the next assignment He has for me may very well be a bigger one!”
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have a role for me to fill on this side of eternity while I wait to spend the rest of eternity in your presence. Thank you for showing me that the role you intend for me is up to you, not up to me. I confess that too often I have the sense that you are not doing what I think you should be doing in using me as you should. Please forgive me for that foolishness of thinking I know better than you do. And please, Father, help me in following your lead in only filling the role you have for me. Help me with my obedience to what you have for me. Please help me in getting out of your way so I truly decrease so that you may increase in every aspect of my being. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.