So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.”
John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
John the Baptist’s disciples were disturbed because people were following Jesus instead of John. John’s willingness to decrease in importance showed unusual humility. Although John the Baptist was a well-known preacher who attracted large crowds, he was content for Jesus to take the higher place. John the Baptist’s job was to point people to Jesus, their long-awaited Messiah.
Like John’s disciples, we often make the mistake of comparing this pastor with that pastor, and this church with that church. When we do that, though, we completely miss the point. “Has Christ been divided into factions?” (1 Corinthians 1:13). The purpose of every pastor and every church is Christ. Comparing pastors or churches is like evaluating whether planting the seed or watering it is more important (see 1 Corinthians 3:6).
A wise pastor will keep Christ constantly in front of his followers like John did for his disciples. When we find ourselves making comparisons, we need to reorient our own hearts to face Christ above all.