John 1:27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
Aside from Jesus, John was the greatest man that walked this earth. Jesus said so Himself. And yet for a man who was so great, there is one thing that’s remarkable about John that was vital to him fulfilling the purpose God had for him. It is this. John was humble. If there was anyone that could boast, it was John. His birth was divinely announced. He was foretold in the Old Testament. He was the forerunner of the Messiah. He had great crowds. The people counted him to be a great prophet. And yet, whenever he was given an opportunity to take credit, he deflected it to the One Whose name he proclaimed.
“I am unworthy”, he says, “to unloose His shoe latchet”. He further said: “He must increase, but I must decrease”. “He is preferred before me”. “He is greater.” Though he was “the greatest” man in Christ’s eyes, John was humble. And what sticks out this morning is that without this humility, John could not fulfill the purpose for which he was placed on this earth. He couldn’t have lived his life so that, when it hit its pinnacle, he could step aside into the shadows for the sake of Christ. He wouldn’t have allowed two of his men to leave him, to follow Christ. His life’s message was built around the fact that he would live and serve and proclaim Christ, and deflect any recognition or praise to Him, ultimately fading away and allowing Christ to receive fruit and glory from his labors.
The same is true for us. Without humility, and without an “unworthy” attitude, we cannot fulfill the purpose for which He’s called us. We’ve been called, ultimately, to proclaim that there is One greater than us that is coming. We’re to lift Him up. We’re to decrease, so that He can increase. We’re to preach that He is greater. That before Him, we’re counted as nothing. And in the end, He may ask us to step aside, or send us into obscurity, so that He can step up and receive the fruit and glory from our service. This morning my prayer is that I’d live with the spirit John had.