By Mike Day
Today marks the transfer of power in our country. Every four or eight years, we experience a transition from one president to another. This occasion has not always gone smoothly, and the man leaving the White House has not always shown humility and grace. From John Adams to Andrew Johnson, history records numerous transitions where the defeated or outgoing president did not cordially hand over his leadership role.
Perhaps George H. Bush demonstrated one of the most notable acts of grace by a defeated president when he left a personal letter in the presidential desk encouraging and wishing the best for his successor, Bill Clinton. Bush placed the need for unity in our country above any desire to hang on to power or to get revenge for a defeat.
Releasing your hold on the spotlight or from a position of power is not an easy act. When you’ve grown accustomed to making the decisions and having a following, you do not easily hand over the mantle for someone else to call the shots.
One of the most marked transitions by a leader is found in the early chapters of the New Testament gospels. John the Baptizer had emerged as a revolutionary leader, stirring the crowd with his challenging preaching. In addition to the multitudes that gathered down by the Jordan River to hear his preaching and receive his baptism, John had also developed a tight-knit group of loyal disciples. His popularity was on the rise, even to the point that the religious power holders in Jerusalem were sending out spies to check out his preaching and challenge him in front of the crowd.
To the average observer, it looked like John was hitting his stride, and the weeks and months ahead would only bring him greater success and larger audiences. Why would he willingly give up this preaching platform and walk away from the masses who were clamoring to hear more?
Unlike most leaders, John had a clear understanding of his role and his limited time on the world stage. His mission all along was to arrange for a smooth transition as he prepared the way for the one coming after him. In fact, when that time came and Jesus, John’s successor, launched his public ministry, John stated, “Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
When I reflect on the words and actions of John, I understand that every day I am challenged with the same decision. Will I march into this day seeking to fulfill my ambitious dreams and goals or will I yield my quest to a higher calling, giving Jesus control of my decisions and exalting him to receive all glory?
You see, this willing transfer of power is the crux of Christianity. More important than how many times I attend church, my daily relinquishing of power and platform to Jesus reveals my true commitment to Christ.
As we observe the transfer of power take place in our country today, pause and ask yourself, “Am I willing to decrease so that Christ may increase?”
Will you have a peaceful transfer of power today?