More or Less (Sabbatical Post)


I live on the high altitude prairie of Colorado, just beyond the foothills of the great Colorado Rocky Mountains. 99.99% of my existence here is perfect. I love the weather, the sunshine, and the low humidity. The views are spectacular and the sunrises and sunsets are beyond beautiful.


sunrise 1-28-15So you’re probably wondering what that .01% of my life here that isn’t perfect. It’s baking. Baking at high altitude gets me every time. My beloved recipes from the low lands just don’t work here. I get frustrated and I quit baking. And after several months I forget my frustrations and try it again, only to be disappointed yet again.


If you read the back of a cake mix, you’ll see high altitude instructions. They usually require the addition of flour or cutting the liquids or adding more liquid. It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve lived in Colorado and there are times I still forget to look at that little piece.


I’ve also purchased cookbooks to help with the whole “I can’t bake in this high altitude” situation. There is a formula for making all recipes work at high altitude. I just haven’t figured it out yet. I cannot seem to wrap my brain around it.


Now to add another issue into my baking dilemma, we’ve had to purchase a new oven. Well actually two new ovens because my kitchen has a double oven set up. So in one, we chose a convection oven. Fortunately, it has a convection converter. So I just punch in some numbers and it takes care of the conversion. And there’s a method to this too.


Meats are cooked at higher temps for less time and baked goods are baked at lower temps for the same amount of time. At least that’s what my understanding is. But then again, I could be wrong! I think I’ll be using the conversion setting for quite a while.


More or less? Without reading the instructions or knowing the formula, chances are pretty good it’s going to be wrong. It can get confusing, frustrating, and even demoralizing.


More or less? These words can be used in regard to our relationship with Jesus as well. John the baptizer knew all about this more or less thing.


John had been sent before Jesus to prepare the people of Israel for Jesus. He was born to be a preacher. He was given the role of starting a revival among the Jews. He was to tell anyone who listened that the Messiah would be following soon. But when the time came, when the Messiah appeared, John’s role was to introduce Jesus to the world and step back.


Oh, John continued to preach. John still baptized. But he was always pointing others to Jesus. Always.


I’m sure it was disheartening to John’s disciples when Jesus began His ministry. John had been the forerunner. He had preached to great crowds and shared the message God had given him with them. But after His baptism, Jesus began drawing the crowds. John’s crowds diminished. Jesus’ crowds augmented.


It’s no wonder John’s disciples approached John about the situation. “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” (John 3:26 – NIV)


John knew his role. He had accomplished it. It was time for Jesus to take over. But John had to bring his followers to the same understanding. John reminded his disciples that he was not the Christ and had never professed to be. John then shared the analogy of attending the bridegroom and being filled with joy upon hearing the voice of the bridegroom.


But then, John spoke words that have great significance in our walk with Jesus.


“He must become greater; I must become less.”(John 3:30 – NIV) The New American Standard Version puts it this way. “He must increase, but I must decrease.”


More or less?


That is a question we must ask ourselves every day and perhaps throughout our day. Does my life reflect more of me or more of Jesus? Have I chosen the path of becoming less so that Jesus becomes greater in all that I do? Am I decreasing so that Jesus can increase?


I know it’s not easy. I know I get the formula wrong. I know I mess it up. But in the Kingdom of God, Jesus must be the King. Jesus must sit on the throne. And that means Jesus must rule in our hearts. His presence must increase and our sinful, human nature must decrease.


John continued testifying for Jesus in the remaining verses of John chapter 3. He also mentioned that Jesus, “the one who comes from above is above all.” (John 3:31 – NIV) As we place Jesus above all in our lives, He increases. This must be our goal.


And the reward for our decrease? Eternal life. John closes his testimony with these words. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36 – NIV)


I am certain that I will try to bake again at some point. It’s a cycle I can’t seem to break. As I add more or less ingredients to my batter, I will remember this passage. More or less? Increase or decrease? Greater or less?


How will you remember to make Jesus’ presence greater in your life?


Grace and peace be yours in abundance,



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