It was another great day of ministry for John the baptist. He headed toward his favorite shade tree and nestled down with his favorite snack in hand – honey being the staple food of choice. As was the norm for John after a long day, he began to pray and allow God’s presence to fill his life; bringing encouragement, strength, and insight.
“John, you’ve been faithful in running this race.” “Ahhh”, John humbly and delightfully assured himself that it was indeed the voice of God speaking encouragement into his weary soul. John wasn’t ready for the next statement.
“It’s time for you to exit the stage.”
Confusion was the easiest way to explain what he felt. “Exit the stage? But everything is going well?” It’s not what he expected to hear, nor was he too sure he wanted to hear it. In his humanity, John began to question the credentials of the voice he heard, “was that seriously God?”
Those thoughts were the beginning of an all night tennis match between John’s thoughts and his heart. John wasn’t ignorant to what scripture prophesied, he just wasn’t too sure he wanted it to happen NOW.
As the sun just began to lift beyond the horizon, John was more than ready to get up from that spot. He had no idea what to make of it all, but was certain of a few things; mainly that in a matter of moments, another crowd would gather and John would find himself in the center of it.
The crowd began to form, and John made his way to them with the normal look on his face. His conflict within would not be seen by others today. John began to preach and do his normal thing, until someone asked THAT question. “Are you the messiah? Or should we keep waiting for someone else?” Like salt in an open wound.
“There is another coming. He is far GREATER than I”.
There he said it. The decision was made. That was the beginning of the END for John’s ministry.
How often does God close a ministry? Is there not a season for EVERYTHING? I haven’t heard from God or anything, but with all the various ministry leaders “failing”, could that be God intervening and helping them step aside? Possible. I don’t know that I fully believe that, but it sure does cause me to stop and think. Sometimes when God gives direction, He doesn’t give us a close date for the end of it. Perhaps we just assume that the “season” God has for OUR ministry is until He returns.
I think thats a little too much for us to assume. I believe leadership/ministry is a stewardship. It is temporary. God has all authority and He gives it to whomever he wishes for as long as he wishes. Think about the king in Daniel’s time. God removed that king from leadership. John’s ministry had a time stamp on it. It was specific.
I want the ministry i’m involved with to be specific and focused. I want to obey God and walk away, like John, if He ever asks me to. He is the one I serve.