To Know Him and Make Him Known
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:12-18
John the Baptist’s disciples were concerned. The new prophet was gaining significantly more attention than John himself. Some of those who had followed John, were now “going over” and following the Nazarene. When they voiced their concerns, John’s reply was simple and direct: “He must increase, I must decrease.” (John 3:30). There is a truth here that seems to have been misplaced among those who serve God. Jesus is supposed to be preeminent in all things. There is a formula here of contrasting balance. The more famous I become the less a famous He is. The more notoriety I gain, the less notable He is. The more attention that is focused upon me, the less men are able to see Him. One can deny it, explain it away, justify it – but the ugly truth remains. The bigger I get, the smaller Jesus is; and conversely – when Jesus is big, I am lost in His shadow and this, this is precisely the rub. There is a carnal side of man, even the best of us that wants to be seen, wants to be noticed, hungers to be appreciated. However, according to Colossians 1 there is simply no room in the spotlight for Jesus and anyone else.
If the world is talking about me, they are not talking about Jesus. If the world is “singing my praises,” they are not singing His. This thing is a war in my soul right now, a raging battle because I have realized that so much of what I do, robs Jesus of the glory that is rightly His. I am a preacher and teacher. I pastor an active church that is well known in our community. These facts alone often thrust me into the public eye. I am on television and radio every week preaching the gospel. I write numerous blogs and articles. These are not bad things, they are good and they are important in presenting the claims of the gospel to a dying world – a world dying without Christ. Yet, I am conflicted in my spirit because in my heart of hearts (my spiritual one, not my flesh one) I want to decrease so that He might increase.
I watched Nik Wallenda tonight as he walked on a two inch cable across the Grand Canyon. As I watched him, I said to myself, “that’s just how I feel right now.” I am walking a perilous tight rope trying to balance what I know God has called me to and constant danger of drawing attention to myself rather than to Him. All of us in the ministry walk the same tight rope. However, it would appear that some have abandoned the battle and are simply unwilling or unable to continue to walk that tight rope. Notoriety has won the battle and they think that simply because they are well known, Jesus is well known through them.
We must preach, we must teach, and we must continue to reach out to the world through whatever means is available to us. At the same time, we must always retain the mind of a servant, the heart of a servant, and the demeanor of a servant. We must shun any laurels or labels of greatness and bow our heads in shame should any of the glory that belongs to Him be heaped upon us. If there anything to boast of, it is to boast of Jesus and what He has done, because He has done everything. This is a daunting task for highly gifted and eminently skilled men, but it is a task that we must embrace. Someone has said, “to know Him and to make Him known.” It is a worthy cause but we must remember that in making Him known there is always a risk of becoming “known” ourselves and in so doing we may in fact rob Him of that stature of preeminence.