John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus Christ and he was born about six months before Jesus. His birth was a miracle as his parents were advanced in age at the time of his conception. John’s assignment was to prepare the way of the Lord. “He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said”” (John 1:23). John also testified about Jesus declaring, ‘behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
After Jesus’s baptism, some of John’s disciples followed him and people also went to Jesus to be baptised. John’s disciples were perturbed as it seemed that the people were now going to be baptised by Jesus. “John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (John 3:27). John reminded his disciples that he was sent ahead to prepare the way for Jesus. John knew that the time had come when his ministry would decrease and Jesus’s could increase. Perhaps John knew of his upcoming arrest and execution.
Either way, John did not feel threatened that Jesus was gaining more popularity from the crowd. He understood his assignment and knew of his purpose in helping to fulfil Jesus’s mission. It takes great humility to live in a way which prepares the way for someone else to follow after you. Many people struggle when it comes to succession planning because they feel threatened by others. The reality is that at times you may start a project or a programme and the time will come for you to hand this over to someone else. Some of us are starters and some are finishers.
Holding unto a position long after you have lost relevance can cause tension and stagnation. Many leaders struggle to identify someone to succeed them. The reality is that if an organisation can only exist when you are around, then that company is in trouble. The true success of any invention is its ability to continue to exist long after the inventor has moved on. One way to guarantee the longevity of anything is to train someone to continue the process. This can sometimes mean a change of jobs or companies. Selfishness causes some people to not want to share ideas or to transfer skills to others. We are called to equip others for the establishment of the kingdom of God.
“to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).