Reading: Matthew 11: 7-11
At times, we all go through what John the Baptist’s followers are going through. Someone who has been a leader in our church or community or organization is no longer present. They have moved on to another place or they have passed on. To be filled with questions and doubts and fears is a normal reaction. We wonder who will fill the void. We wonder how the void will be filled.
John has been put in prison. He had led a powerful ministry out in the desert and had positively changed many people’s lives. So instead of trusting in God and expecting God to do something amazing next, the followers worry and fret. So Jesus asks them, in essence, why they followed John and why people came out to see him. What drew you and others to John?
Jesus begins by asking if they went out to see a reed swayed by the wind. Well, no, John was rock solid in his beliefs and in his mission. His message did not change no matter who came out into the desert: repent for the kingdom of God is near. Jesus asked if John’s attire and other refinements drew them. No, of course not – it was about the message and about personally drawing closer to God. Jesus then harkens the people back to a passage from Malachi. John was there for a purpose: as a messenger sent to prepare the way. Jesus has come, John’s work is done. God’s plan continues. Jesus ends the section by stating that although John was indeed a great gift from God, in heaven John will be just like everyone else.
In our lives, we too experience people God is using to do kingdom work. It may be for just a short time or the work may last decades. The person may be you or I. But at some point, the work of God in that time and place draws to a close. There is naturally sadness and often doubt or fear. Yet in the midst of this, may we allow our faith to move forward, trusting fully in God’s plan and will. May we be thankful for what God has done while remaining confident that it is all part of God’s plan. God alone is in control. Trust God.