John 1:26-34; 3:26-30
Richard C. Statham, Sr.
Senior Pastor, Salem Baptist, McDonough
My wife and I love to entertain folks in our home. In fact, for me it is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy planning, preparing, and serving a full-scale sit-down dinner. The more people the better. Hospitality is something I watched my parents model well and have found brings a sense of joy and fulfillment to me. I love to create an atmosphere in our home conducive to the building and strengthening of relationships with and in the Lord Jesus.
Several years ago, my wife and I were invited by a prominent business leader to attend a college bowl game along with several other pastors and their wives. Though neither team was “my team,” we joyfully accepted the invitation and looked forward to the “experience”. Upon arriving at the stadium, we were graciously welcomed by our host into a luxurious suite that included a lavish spread of wonderful food. High above the game we were surrounded by fellow ministers and businessmen having a wonderful time. I watched several minutes of the game and then found myself at the food table – a place I find very comfortable!
My natural instinct was to begin to ask those watching the game if I could bring them a drink, sandwich, or dessert. My offer was accepted by several people so I continued to enjoy running a “comfort food shuttle” between the buffet and the bleachers!
As I handed one lady a drink she asked me what my name was, and what I did for a living. I responded, “I am the senior pastor of Salem Baptist in McDonough, Georgia.”
She, another pastor’s wife, quickly replied, “You are a senior pastor and you are serving people drinks?”
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She was shocked that I would stoop to serve food and soft drinks to other pastors and businessmen. Isn’t that what I surrendered to at the age of 17 when I met the Lord? God didn’t call me to be served, He called me to serve … didn’t He?
John the Baptist had a life purpose – to serve and honor the LORD by preparing the way for Messiah’s coming and to point out to others that Jesus the Messiah had come. John the Baptist never stood and declared “look at me,” but he did point out Jesus and say “look at Him” (John 1:29). John was very faithful to God’s calling in his life – to point men to Jesus the Messiah.
There came a time when, like John and his disciples, Jesus along with His disciples were baptizing many people. During that time John the Baptist was told, “Rabbi, that man [Jesus] who was with you on the other side of the Jordan – the one you testified about – well, he is baptizing and everyone is going to him” (John 3:26).
In other words, “John, this new guy, is gaining all the attention.”
John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. The joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:27-30).
John the Baptist was faithful to and content in the calling the LORD placed upon his life. That calling was to serve the purpose of God by preparing the way of the Lord Jesus and then pointing men, women, boys, and girls to Him when He appeared. John did not lose sight of his calling – to point others to Jesus.
Though all Christians are spiritually gifted differently, we are all called to point others to Jesus. We are to use the talents and gift mix the Lord has graciously given us to bring honor and glory to His name, not ours.
The Apostle Peter declared, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:9-11).
Flossie May, the late renowned Varsity Atlanta Car Hop, used to cry out when he approached our car “What’ll ya have?” which translated into English meant “How can I serve you?” Our daily cry ought to be “Lord, how can I serve you and others today?” And yes, for me as a senior pastor it includes not just preaching on Sunday but also to “stoop” and serve another soft drink whenever and wherever for Jesus. After all, it was Jesus who taught us how.
Questions to Consider:
What ministry has the Lord called you to?
Have you remained faithful to the Lord’s calling?
What spiritual gifts has He entrusted to you?
Are you using those gifts to serve His name or yours?
What opportunities of ministry are before you today?
Will you capture them?