Yesterday I preached from John 3:22-36 and pointed out that while John’s disciples were envious that Jesus’ popularity was growing John the Baptist was filled with surpassing joy because that was exactly what he himself had worked for! True joy is found in being occupied with Christ and it frees us from being envious/jealous/resentful toward other ministries/churches/pastors.
I share that because this morning I came across a wonderful example of this truth in action. It would seem that when F.B. Meyer was in the very zenith of his ministry in London there came to London a nineteen year old boy. And overnight that boy was world famous, throngs were going to hear him, and his name was spoken on every street by every heart. Any guesses who that “boy” might be? If you guessed Charles Spurgeon you are right!
How do you think that made F.B. Meyer feel? He says in his autobiography that it filled him with envy (no surprise there, right?). What did he do with that envy? F.B. Meyer says:
“I took it to the Lord; got down on my knees and on my face before the Lord, and I said to the Lord, ‘It’s not right, this feeling of envy that I have in my heart.’”
And then F.B. Meyer did something spectacular. He began praying for Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the boy preacher. He began asking God to give him a double portion of the Spirit from heaven, give him twice as many souls. Give him a fame that circles the world ten times, not once. And F.B. Meyer says it was not long until he began to look upon every triumph of the young Spurgeon as though it were his own. When Spurgeon would preach to thousands of people, Meyer said he’d rejoice as though he himself had done it. And when Spurgeon won throngs to the Lord it was as though Meyer had done it, he said, he so prayed for the young man and rejoiced in his glorious ministry. That is the spirit of John the Baptist! Read John 3:29! It is also the spirit of Moses in Numbers 11:26-29 and the spirit of Paul in Philippians 1:14-18.
Oh for more of this spirit in God’s church! As I said in my message yesterday morning – In a world that is under God’s wrath for rejecting God’s beloved Son there is no room for pride, envy, and competition but instead we must joyfully employ what God has given us to magnify the preeminent Savior! This new year, let’s make it our preoccupation to make Christ preeminent in all things. This new year, let’s be swallowed up in the service of Him who is the greatest for in this is true joy found!