SCRIPTURE: John 1:26 (TM) – larger reading John 1:19-28
John answered, "I only baptize using water. A person you don't recognize has taken his stand in your midst.
Washington -- Graffiti from the 1800s discovered by workers renovating the Washington Monument has quite a different tone from that usually found today on the sides of buildings and subway cars.
"Whoever is the human instrument under God in the conversion of one soul, erects a monument to his own memory more lofty and enduing (sic) than this," reads the inscription which can now be viewed by visitors to the monument.
It is signed BFB. No one knows who that is, or who left the small drawings and 19th century dates on other walls.
The markings in the lobby of the monument were covered over when it was decorated at the turn of the century. They were found when workers removed marble wainscoting as part of a yearlong $500,000 renovation which was just completed.
Sometimes our monuments are just that, buildings, edifices of various proportions and materials. Sometimes our monuments are family – children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Sometimes these monuments are built with the intent of leaving a legacy for others so that we will be remembered while at other times they have grown out of an attitude of love.
One way to think about John the Baptist is to think of the heritage he left in the wake of his life. He came preaching and baptizing not to bring attention to himself, but to prepare the way for the one who was to follow him. John was building a worthy monument to his life’s work because it led to something and someone greater.
Haven’t given it much thought over the years of ministry – how will I be remembered, but every now and again the thought has occurred to me. It is usually quickly dismissed because it is not important to be remembered… nice but not important. Oh, ones children will remember for their entire life. Grandchildren might depending on the length of time spent with them during their formative years. The rest of the people we touch, we will be but a passing thought like so much chafe in the wind.
But the legacy of those who come to know Jesus because we came their way and bore testimony to the Good News which changes life itself… that is a monument which will be long remembered well into eternity. The angels will mention our names for the impact in changed lives we have made. That is a monument larger than the Washington Monument and will remain standing long after that piece of granite in Washington D.C. has crumbled to the ground.
John the Baptist pointed to the centrality of Christ in all he said and did. We are called to follow suit… that is our legacy… that is our monument.
May our life so impact those around us that the host of believers will be enlarged a thousand fold because we had come their way.