Scripture: John 3:22-36
Key verse: (23) “John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there.”
Reflection: Where does ministry happen? In his book Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, theologian Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Often I find that ministry is identified by the deep hungers around us without recognizing the gladness and joy that is present as well. We are able to name the statistics of the housing crisis here in Charlotte, the homicide rate in 2019, the havoc of the opioid crisis. The hunger around us is real, and we know it.
As I was sitting around a table with the Tuesday morning Bible Study yesterday, the stories of need were coupled with stories of deep gladness; of being known and knowing others, of tears in prayer, of lives transformed, and hope for the future. In our text for today I was struck by the reason for John the Baptist’s location of baptizing – there was abundant water there. John went to the place of great resource, of deep abundance. And when John took that resource and used it for the world’s great need, there was deep gladness, John knew his place within God’s calling for his life and he was overjoyed to be a part of God’s story.
We all know the deep needs in the world, and at times they can be overwhelming, paralyzing us not to act. So for today, think about where you may have a place of deep abundance, where in your life is there “abundant water” like John had used. Perhaps this is time, money, particular skills, an elevated voice of power. Whatever the abundance may be pray about how that can connect with the world’s great need. When these two come together, we see not our own power, but we see the transformative power of Jesus. And for John the Baptist, his use of the abundant resources meeting the world’s great need resulted in the joy of being in Jesus’ presence. John describes his encounter in this wedding metaphor, “The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled.” May God open our eyes to the gifts we have been given, to be used for the well being of all to the glory of God.
Prayer: Holy God, you bless us abundantly, each in different ways, and yet the needs of the world overwhelm. May we take that blessing and use it to your glory. Open our hearts that we may be moved to follow in your way, that we may know the joy of being in your presence. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].