Summary: This sermon sets forth a call to humility using a simple statement made by John the Baptist.
Text: "He must increase, but I must decrease -- He must grow more prominent, I must grow less so." John 3:30 (The Amplified Bible)
All of us by now have heard the remarkable story of Todd Beamer. He was the man who led the attack on the terrorists, who had hijacked United’s Flight 93.
He is now famous for his two words, "Let’s roll!" which became the battle cry on the plane that morning.
In 1992, Todd made a list of the values and characteristics he wanted to identify in his life. A major goal of his was, "I want to fly below the radar screen."
By that he meant that he wanted to be inconspicuous and endeavor to maintain a low profile.
It is very obvious that John the Baptist knew nothing about radar screens. Yet he seemed to adopt the principle involved as his philosophy for life.
He says, in the words of the text, "He (Jesus) must grow more prominent; I must grow less so."
John didn’t use the American approach to the ministry. He had not had the Dale Carnegie course. He called them "vipers." First Church wouldn’t book him for a revival.
But Jesus said of him, "Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." Matthew 11:11.
The key to his life was the fact that he decided to take the low road of humility.
The religious leaders came out to him and asked him, "Who art thou?" He did not say, "I am the founder and president of the Jordan River Protest Movement."
Rather, he said, "I am the voice of the one crying in the wilderness." He did not become his own press agent. He flew below the radar screen.
When questioned about whether he might be Jesus, he said, "I am not worthy to even untie his shoes."
The scribes and Pharisees lived by a different philosophy. Matthew 23:5 says, " But all their works they do for to be seen of men." They wanted the best seats at feasts and in the synagogues.
It is now a well-documented fact that several TV evangelists, while preaching the love of God, had a blistering hatred of others in the TV ministry. They wanted to be the only one on the radar screen.
Mrs. Rodney Duron of Shreveport, Louisiana, was being honored together with her husband upon the occasion of their retirement from the full-time pastoral ministry.
Someone said something about her "stepping down." She then said, "I am a servant and that means I’m on the bottom. So if I’m on the bottom, I can’t ‘step down.’"
A well-known Christian businessman, visiting a church, was asked to share his testimony. He said, "I have a fine family, a large house, a successful business and a good reputation.
He continued, "I have plenty of money so I can support some Christian ministries very generously. I have good health and almost unlimited opportunities. What more could I ask from God?" he paused.
A voice from the back said, "How about asking him for a good dose of humility?"
Luke 22:26 states, "He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve."
A little country boy was fishing with a makeshift pole, but oh was he catching fish!
A city fellow had the finest fishing tackles, but was having no success at all.
He decided to ask the country boy about his success. The boy replied, "The secret of it all is that I keep myself out of sight."
And, too, the secret of it all in Christian ministry is that we keep ourselves out of sight. In other words fly below the radar screen!
After World War II, many of our fighting men came home with severe mental disorders, due to the trauma of war. The worst cases were kept in a special hospital where an old Army surgeon was on staff.
One day the late Reverend C.M. Ward visited the hospital and was interviewing the surgeon. He said, "Doctor, MacArthur and the others are getting all the headlines. They don’t even mention those like you."
The old doctor said, "Mr. Ward, I don’t care one bit about that. If I can have one boy meet his mother and say ’Mother,’ that will be enough for me."
Yes, John the Baptist gave us a great principle to live by. I challenge you, dear people, to fly below the radar screen.
The world is still saying to us, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."