“And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness–look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”” (John 3:26-30, ESV)
The apostle John records a discussion that takes place between John the Immerser and those who have been following him. They have noticed that since Jesus has come on the scene all men have been going to hear him and not John. They want to know how John feels about that. John says that he is nothing more than the friend of the bridegroom, therefore, when the bridegroom (Jesus) speaks he rejoices.
John understood that his role was not about him, but about bringing others to Jesus by being his introductory voice. It is very much the same with us today. Whether we are preachers, teachers, or simply those who talk to others about Jesus – we are nothing more than friends of the bridegroom. We should be far less worried about whether or not people are listening to, “what I have to say” and more worried about whether they listen to what he has to say.
Until we recognize, as John did, that we must decrease and he must increase as the influence in what we say and how we say it, we will not be as effective as we should be in leading others to him. So before someone bemoans the fact that people will not listen to what he/she has to say, step back and ask why it matters: is it because we want others to hear Christ, or because we want everyone to hear us?