Ruth 1-4; John 3

John 3:30 He must increase; I must decrease.

As I rapidly approach my 60th year, this verse becomes more and more meaningful and precious to me.  It is an amazing profession of humility by the Baptist.  He was like a rock star of his day; even the elite came to the Jordan to be baptized by him, or at least to be seen by others being baptized.  In a time where there were no newspapers – let alone digital media – John the Baptist created buzz.  Can you imagine one of today’s aging “superstars” of film or music professing “he (or she) must increase while I decrease” about a young up-and-comer?

As my body gives in to the inevitable ravages of time, I find great solace in John’s words.  As I decrease (waistline, why aren’t you decreasing – get with the program!) there is an increasing opportunity to let Jesus increase in me, to accept his invitation to carry my Cross.  What this world considers important is becoming less important to me, while prayer and relationships are becoming more and more important.  I feel a mixture of amusement and sadness when I see boomers like myself struggling mightily to hold on to the illusion of youthfulness, yet some sympathy too.  Our culture is not kind to the aging.  I remember some years ago the late Deborah Kerr received an honorary Oscar for her distinguished career, and Ms. Kerr – a luminescent beauty in her youth – was due to illness considerably worse for wear by her late 70s, wearing pop bottle bottom-thick glasses and sporting a prominent dowager’s hump.  The next morning I heard an Atlanta DJ talking about the Oscars call her “Deborah Cadaver.”  This attitude is such a shame because there is so much for the old to share if we listen with respect.

GOD’S ANSWER: Fret not about worldly decrease, because when you enter the Kingdom, the increase is beyond your current ability to imagine!

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