Delighted to Decrease

“As you wish,” is one of the most memorable lines in The Princess Bride. The narration goes,

Nothing gave Buttercup as much pleasure as ordering Westley around… ‘As you wish’ was all he ever said to her…

She was amazed to discover that when he was saying ‘As you wish,’ what he meant was, ‘I love you.’

Actions speak louder than words, as they say, and it is the same with our love and devotion to God.

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).

In other words, because we love God, we say, “As you wish,” to all his commands.

John the Baptist had a very specific, but brief and transitory ministry. He was to prepare the way for the Messiah. He knew that and took it to heart. When Jesus came, he spoke these well-known words, “He must increase, (and) I must decrease (John 3:30).”

When John was imprisoned, he sent men to ask Jesus, “Are you the One…?” Jesus sent word back, “the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of me (Matthew 11:5-6).”

Apparently those last words were all John needed to hear. He would count himself blessed because he would not be offended in whatever circumstances he faced in the course of his ministry: whether it would be longer imprisonment or death. He should not be offended because in his suffering or death, God’s purpose for his life was being accomplished, and God would be glorified in it.

As you wish, Lord.

Jesus knew that he, too, would have to face death. And when he did, he also surrendered his will to his Father, “Not my will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42).”

As you wish, Father.

Jesus knew that his death was necessary, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat fall to the earth and die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24).” That is the Saviour with whom we identify. That is the Saviour we follow.

When God gives us a ministry, we say, “As you wish.”

When he chooses to give us another assignment, we repeat, “As you wish.”

When he says it is to end, whether by illness, persecution or death, we say again, “As you wish.”

In our hearts, we are actually saying, “I love you because you loved me first.”

May we be delighted to decrease, as God increases in our ministry and life. May we choose to be that grain of wheat. May we desire, like Paul, that “Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:20-21).”

As you wish, Oh Lord.

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