More of Him, Less of Me
John the Baptist was not your ordinary man. “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” (Matthew 3:4) But Jesus said of him, “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11). So, looking past his meals and fashion statement, there are a couple of qualities that we should try to emulate.
For those less familiar with the Bible, a little explanation is in order. John’s parents were quite old and childless, when an angel appeared to his father, Zechariah. “The angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’” (Luke 1:13, 17).
When John was about thirty years old, he began to preach “in the Desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’” (Matthew 3:1-2). Crowds of people came to him at the Jordan River to receive his “baptism of repentance”. John said that the reason he was baptizing in water “was that He [the Messiah] might be revealed to Israel.” (John 1:31).
First, John was clear about his purpose in life. He understood that the reason he had a miraculous birth was to be a forerunner of the Messiah and to introduce Him to the nation of Israel. Like a herald announcing the arrival of a dignitary, he was to use his voice to “prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” (Matthew 3:3). How about you?
Second, in spite of his popularity (or notoriety), John remained humble. Though Jesus was his cousin during the years of His incarnation, John never forgot that Jesus is the eternal God who, for a short time, came to dwell among us. John said, “After me will come One more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.” (Mark 1:7).
Jesus is not our Home-Boy nor “the man upstairs”. He is our Lord. John never forgot the deep respect and worship that was due Jesus. John’s attitude is clearly expressed in his statement, “He [Jesus] must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30).
AHEC’s partners in India and Rwanda are men like John. They know that God has led them to be His voice, His arms, and His feet to rescue orphans, and care for widows and other marginalized people. They also have a clear understanding that God has sent them to introduce people to the Lord. In addition to caring for orphans, widows, and other forgotten ones, they regularly share the Gospel, believing that one day people from their country will be included in the “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb,” worshipping Christ. (Revelation 7:9).
Our partners are well-respected in their communities and among other pastors. In spite of such respect and effective ministries, like John, they are very humble men. They live out his ethic, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30).