Become the Lesser
I remember listening to a lecture by a very gifted and much used preacher. He told a group of ministers-in-training that if God were raising up a younger minister in his congregation, he would step to the side and the let the younger man take the more prominent role. He would become lesser for the sake of Christ’s church.
Love for Christ will make us willing to be the lesser for His kingdom. We see this with Jonathon, son of King Saul (1 Samuel 18). Jonathon is the crown prince. No doubt he would’ve been a worthy king. But his father, Saul had forfeited the kingdom through sin. And God was raising up David. Jonathon saw David slay the giant Goliath. He immediately loved David as his own soul. His heart was bound up with David. He intuitively knew that the future of the kingdom was inevitably with David. So rather than fight, he unexpectedly turns his right to rule over to David. He initiated a covenant with him, during which he gave to David his royal robe, along with his sword, belt, and bow. It is an astonishing act.
But, if according to the will of God, David is Israel’s future king, then Jonathon will not resist reality. A man of faith, he surrenders to the Lord’s will, regardless of the cost. Faith will make us willing to be the lesser.
Will you be the lesser over against Christ, who is the world’s true King? No you do not pretend that you will rule over Israel; you are not in the position of Jonathon, next in line to the throne. But is Christ the Lord of your thinking, believing, and living? Does he reign over your decisions?
The way of Jonathon is the way of all saints. It was the way of John the Baptist, who said “I must decrease that he might increase.” It is the way of Paul, who said, For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:5). And taking the lesser position was the way of our Lord Jesus. He possessed all divine glory. But he did not use it to his own advantage. He made himself of no reputation. He became the lesser even to the point of dying on the cross.
In NBA basketball, some players are called roll players. They basically assist the main players who have larger skill-sets. A given role player may be skilled primarily at shooting the “J”, from twenty feet. That is all he will do. His will not drive the lane. He is not called to dunk or to create shots for other players. He simply is called in to hang out on the perimeter waiting to shoot the ball. He has a very limited roll. Yet though these players have a lesser role, most of them are just happy to be there and make a contribution to the success of the team.
Under the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, always be willing to take the lesser role or position for the greater good of Christ’s kingdom. Do not fret or fight should God raise up someone that he will use for the good his work and church.