Updated: Sep 11, 2020
John the Baptist actually had two disciples, Andrew and John the beloved. When these two disciples met Jesus, they said, we found Him. From that point of time, they left John the Baptist and followed Jesus. John didn't even bother about it being deserted. For him, it was his mission to bring people to Christ.
Nothing could be more frustrating being ministers than being left behind by our people whom we have discipled for a very long time. We've been with them, nurturing and transforming their lives for God. They have been our family, practicing and expressing our love for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We've been together for how many years not only because of the faith, but because of the bonds of relationship we created.
John the Baptist came "to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light". Having a full understanding of his mission, he knew that one day, he will be forsaken as his disciples will finally meet their One and True Master. It was his job to introduce his people to Christ. His calling is to prepare the way of the Lord and to let the Light shine out of darkness. "He must increase, and I must decrease", was his remark as he saw his disciples left him and followed after the One Who deserves their loyalty and faithfulness and could teach them far better than himself.
Like John, our mission as Pastors and Missionaries is to bring people to Christ, not to ourselves. It is our joy to win them, but it is even more fulfilling to see them follow Christ, even in our absence. Just like a parent to his children who needs to let go of them to start their own families. Just like students who have to graduate from their schools to face their own careers. John has to let go of his disciples and entrust them to the Master's hands, because he knew, they will be taken cared of better than himself. He knew that they wont have to fast anymore to feel the presence of the Messiah, because finally, "the Bridegroom will be with them".
We all have the same emptiness that we feel when all of the sudden, we are being deprived of being with the church. They've become our consolation every week, but now, we longed for that comfort. We've been violated of the liberty we deserved with our disciples. This crisis could be considered as a major setback for the church. But God knows what He is doing. He knows how to take care of His own people better than us. This could be the time for them to be examined of their true faith without the physical church, atleast for a while. It could be the perfect time for them to meditate upon every message they have heard from their preachers without the pressures of their work, stranded at the four corners of their homes. It could have been said, this could be His quality time with them than ours. It could be the chance for Jesus to grow them after we have faithfully watered. It's time to get a feel of their Master in the absence of the Baptists. It could be the time to recognize the voice of Jesus than the voice of one crying in the pulpits.
We might have felt the same thing about our people. I know we have been so faithful for our calling as shepherds of our flocks. But I think it this way how God set loose of our grip at a given point of time, telling us to trust Him for He knows what's best for His church, for He love them and have given Himself for them.
Nothing is more fulfilling than having Andrew who was your faithful disciple is now a disciple who follows Jesus than yourself. Nothing is more fulfilling than John, your former disciple whom you loved is now become the disciple whom Jesus loved.
Nothing is more fulfilling than to see our church recognized and follow their Master in this trying time, even in our absence. Frustrating, yet fulfilling, bittersweet.