The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35-36)
Read: Job 15:1 – 18:21
Relate: In junior high track I don’t think there was a single thing coach had us working on as frequently as he did the passing of the baton for those who were competing in the relays. I competed in discuss and triple jump these both required a good degree of technical skill and timing. Coach wanted me doing the high jump but I just couldn’t quite get it down enough to compete with the best. As tough as these skills were, however, they all were solo events. The thing that set the relays apart was that speed and timing had to be coordinated between two people. One was coming off their top speed while another was working toward it and as each ran, a baton was being passed forward. When it is done well almost no time is lost and it is as smooth as if one runner were moving the entire time who has simply had a fresh burst of energy. When it is done poorly people can stumble or fall, the baton might be dropped, and teams will lose position or even become disqualified.
I have seen the same thing happen in ministry. Growing up I was a pastor’s kid and many of my best friends were also pastor’s kids. There was only one transition out of Syracuse to start a new church in Rochester in my family but I saw and was aware of changes of leadership at other times in other places. Ideally, when it is done well, the church continues to grow and when the new pastor comes in there is a fresh burst of energy while the previous pastor is respected and honored for his time. When it is done poorly there have been splits, people have dropped out of churches and some leaders appear to have been disqualified for ministry because of it.
React: When John points out the Messiah to two of his disciples, it was one of the most crucial moments in his ministry. He has invested a portion of his life, he has spent his time, talents, and treasure on these young men. Now he is pointing them towards the Master. If he has done well, these disciples will be a huge benefit for Christ. If not, well, that doesn’t matter. He has done well. His entire life was lived for another. John had never spared a thought towards building his own kingdom. He had the charisma and the crowds to do so if he wanted, but he also had a humility. He had run his race and it was time to pass the baton. Soon John will wind up in prison where he will not leave alive. Jesus was just picking up speed for the next and greatest leg of the race. John’s handoff was flawless.
God, let me be always pointing others to You. In everything I do or say or write, help me to avoid the temptation to be about building my own kingdom. Help me to seek and find ways to be a mentor for those who would come after me. I pray blessing on them. I pray that they would go further, dig deeper, and reach more people for You than I ever thought possible. Help me to run with excellence every leg of the race You have called me to run right up until the day You bring me home. And Lord, please hurry that homecoming.