Those people who approached John assumed that the crowds belonged to John. If John had seen the crowds as belonging to him, then he would have automatically felt as if he was losing something. But this is not John’s perspective – John never thought he owned anything, and he certainly never believed he owned the crowds.
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less” – John 3:27-30
John saw the crowds from the view point of a steward, and not an owners view point. The task of a steward is simply to properly manage something on behalf of the owner – until the owner takes back complete ownership. John knew that the crowds were never his in the first place – he knew he had been called to the task of managing the crowds until the real owner arrived, which in this case was Jesus.
This attitude is very different from that of Saul – Saul assumed that he owned his throne – he assumed that he could do anything with it and that the people were like chess pieces which he was free to move around the board as he pleased. This also meant that when things went wrong he had no where to turn to. Saul couldn’t turn to God because he didn’t see God as being in charge. People who feel they own something also believe they must hold on and protect it.
Instead of crowds we may have our careers, or homes, our talents, our health or even our finances. Do we feel we own these things, or do we see ourselves as being stewards of these things on behalf of the One who gave them to us. It is a very different thing to see myself as the steward of my family, or the steward of my property – rather than seeing myself as the owner of my family, my property, or my career. Being a steward means that I am not in a position to make decisions without first consulting the owner.
Driven people will only consider themselves – and this will often drive them to make bad decisions.
Called people are often more willing to lose things – and when they do lose things their hearts remain steady because they don’t feel they are losing something they own.