Last week our 15-year-old son placed both hands on my shoulders, and asked, “Mom, are you shrinking?”
After the laughter died, out came the tape measure to reveal the truth. I had not shrunk, but in four weeks, he had grown another inch.
Later on, I thought about my age, and “compressing” seems to be a better word than shrinking. Shorter, I’m not sure, but thicker, yes. But what I really want to do is decrease.
One of the first books of the Bible that I read and reread was John’s Gospel, the 4th book of the New Testament. One very short verse in chapter 3 startles, then challenges. It is a statement made by the other John, the baptizer. Some were questioning him in regard to his followers. Those whom he had once baptized were now following Jesus. It was as if they were asking, “What are you going to do about that?”
The ordinary leader of men would be somewhat threatened by that, as their personal popularity faded and someone else took center-stage in the lives of those under their influence. Not so with this man.
First he said that no one could have anything unless God gave it to him anyway, then he pointed to Christ as the “bridegroom,” while he was merely the friend of the groom. After all, the “bride” belongs to the bridegroom. Then John made this statement, “He must increase, but I decrease.”
John wasn’t talking about height or size. He was talking about importance, and about priorities. He was willing to yield his position of prominence to Jesus because that was his purpose. God had sent him to prepare a way, to make it smooth, so that when the Savior came, people would be ready to receive Him. He wasn’t to collect a following for himself, but for Christ.
Humanly speaking, I wouldn’t have whatever it takes to collect a following, but I have the capacity to put myself first, to seize the position of prominence in my own priority list. In any situation where I have to decide between the will of God and my “I’d rathers,” I have the freedom to choose what I think is the most important.
Many times those words come to mind, “He must increase but I decrease.” As thoughts of who Jesus is, and what He has done come to mind, it seems such an obvious choice. No one deserves more to increase, to be held first, to have the prominence. No one is more worthy of all honor, glory, and worship. He is Lord of all, and even though not every knee has bowed to Him, my knee must, because I know too much. I know too much about myself to consider usurping Him, and I know too much about Him.
I don’t mind being a “shrinking mom,” watching my son grow. What I desire even more is to be decreasing, letting God’s Son grow and be seen in me.