He lived in the wilderness and made his own clothes out of camel hair. Sporting long hair and a beard, he was a man’s man if ever there was one. If you’re picturing Jeremiah Johnson or Hugh Glass from the Revenant, you’re not far off. I’m talking about John the Baptist.
In Matthew 11, Jesus says there was no man greater than John the Baptist. That’s pretty high praise coming from Jesus. At the time, John the Baptist was leading a very large ministry. People came from miles around to hear him speak and to be baptized.
Throughout his ministry, John spoke about someone far greater who would be coming, the Messiah. Finally, at the height of John’s popularity and in the midst of the crowds of people gathered, Jesus showed up to be baptized by John. Think about what this would do for John’s fame as a minister. He was the one who got to baptize Jesus. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove. There was a voice from heaven saying, “This is My son whom I love and am well pleased.”
In the midst of this amazing moment, something interesting begins to happen. All of a sudden, the attention moves from John to Jesus. John’s followers see what’s happening and begin to worry. We are losing our fame. We are losing our followers. Jesus is now more popular than John!
Real meekness was on full display in John’s response. He doesn’t become angry or frustrated that Jesus is suddenly more popular. He doesn’t fight to hold onto his fame. Instead, John recognizes his place in a much bigger story. He acknowledges that from the beginning, this was never about him. He sees his story in light of God’s glory. This is meekness. It’s recognizing that God has given each of us a story and the point of our story is to reveal His glory.
The fact is, it has always been about God. Any fame or acclaim that comes our way is all about His name, not ours. God may be using your life for very significant things, but when held up to the story of redemption, meekness sees your story as a very small part of what God is doing to reveal His glory. Meekness helps shape a proper perspective of life so that we don’t get puffed up with pride or defeated in shame. Meekness is an invitation to live for the Story that matters most of all.
Taken from a sermon by George Wright,Senior Pastor, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C.