Day 36- The challenge of being Jesus’ cousin

Its one of those things we rarely think of- that sometimes its hard to be around greatness. For John the Baptist (happy JtB day everyone) it was possibly even harder: when folks close to us start to do well we can give a little input here and there, or maybe remember how we first helped them choose that path, and of course at least there’s some reflected glory (not that we’re interested in that…). But for John, he knew that his younger cousin was the Son of God, and there was no way that he could claim bragging rights or to have taught Jesus how to be God’s Son… and to add to it, the message that John spoke to people (look it up in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 3, or Mark 1, or Luke 3, or John 1, whichever you prefer) was that someone was coming who would overtake him, who would eclipse him totally in teaching, ministry, action and impact. Not to dismiss John the Baptist, the greatest New Testament prophet, but he was the warm up act for the Son of God who came to save the world…

But maybe its because he managed to hold that challenge, to consistently point people towards someone else, that his message stood out to the crowds who came out to hear him… he managed to resist the pressure and the temptation to go for the popular message and to fit in with other people’s expectations… and not only did God honour that, but people responded to it.

When someone says ‘well done’ or praises me for something, its hard not to take the credit, but maybe the challenge for us isn’t to pretend ‘it was nothing’, but to remember that actually anything i manage to do is done because someone helped me, encouraged me and showed me how.  Am i always a failure because I could have done better, or am I always a winner because there’s probably someone worse, or is it actually that I need to measure things differently. The challenge isn’t just to succeed, its how we cope with success.

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