“He must increase, and I must decrease” (John 3:30). These simple words were spoken by “the greatest man who was ever born of a woman” (Matt 11:11)… Spoken by a man who is often forgotten in our saintly devotions. They were proclaimed by a man who was “the voice”, who stood in the waters of the Jordan River, face-to-face with the Man who was the Eternal Word made flesh! And it was with fear and trembling that he dared to baptize Him “in order to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). This man, this voice which cries out in the desert, is none other than John the Baptist!
One of the awesome things about John is that he knew exactly what his purpose was in life: to be the voice, preparing the way for the Lord. And although people asked him time and again, “Who are you?” he would not lead them astray and put the attention on himself… he knew that he was not the Messiah, he simply had to point out to the people the “one who is to come.” And this he did when he proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God!” In other words he was saying, “LOOK!! There He is! He is the one that all of you should follow… Not me! I’m just the voice… but He is the Word!! Follow Him!” What a great lesson for us: Do we know who we are? Do we know why God created us? What is our purpose in life? These are great questions that every man and woman must answer in life. And I would dare to say that if these questions are not answered, then we will wonder aimlessly throughout life and leave behind us a path of destruction.
There is a great quote by Sir Isaac Newton which I have tried to live by it in different ways. It goes like this: “If I seem to have the ability to see further than other men, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants!” Let that quote soak in…… It's worth asking ourselves: Who are the giants in my life that have allowed me to stand on their shoulders? Who has put their life aside so that I could be everything I was created to be? Who saw something special in me, something that I may have not seen in myself, and stuck by my side in order to pull it out of me? Maybe it was our mom and dad? A brother or sister? A friend? A coach? A priest or nun? I know who those giants are in my life, but I don’t know who that person is for you, but I have to believe that everyone has a someone in their life who has allowed them to stand on their shoulders so that they could “see further then other men.”
Another question to reflect on: Have I been a giant for someone else? Have I been able to allow someone to stand on my shoulders? Who have I put my needs aside for so that they could reach their potential? Maybe you've done this for your children? For your spouse? For your parents? Maybe for your friends? Boyfriend or girlfriend? Countless examples could be given here…. I’ve come to understand that this action of self-sacrifice is actually what makes God present and tangible to that person, and to the world. This action unveils for others the very face of God, the God whom we cannot see, but yet is made visible to us because “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). So anytime we truly love another person in the way that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 defines love, we truly make manifest the presence and face of God. When we love others in this manner, it is then that we make the words of John the Baptist our own words, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”
If you ask me, I believe that the world desperately needs another John!! May we receive a double portion of his bold, self-sacrificial love that he had for Jesus, the Word made flesh, the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world!