Guest Post by Brenda Poinsett
Do you have someone you look up to or try to emulate? Maybe someone in your family, a school teacher, a co-worker or a movie star?
That person for me is John the Baptist, who we read about in the gospels. He was the preparer of the way for Jesus, and he did this by asking people to repent and to be baptized which explains “the Baptist” part of his name. Here are some reasons why I admire him:
He was his own person; he wasn’t afraid to be different. He wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist which wasn’t normal, everyday attire. His diet was locusts and wild honey.
He spared no one in calling out their sins, even calling some listeners vipers or snakes. As a public speaker, I would never call people that for fear of alienating them, but John did. He got their attention, and they repented and made changes in their lives.
John preached in the wilderness when we would think starting in a city where the people were would be better. Instead, the people came out from the city to hear him preach. Some were so impressed they thought he was the expected Messiah; others thought he was Elijah or a long-expected Prophet. This could have been a heady experience for John, but he wasn’t thrown off course by their adulation. John stayed true to his calling.
John never stepped outside his role even when his followers tried to ignite jealousy in him (which is why John’s story is included in my book You’ve Got It, I Want It). They said, “Jesus is baptizing more people than you are.” They didn’t want their leader to be in second place, and they wanted John to be as upset as they were. John could have reacted this way. He could have felt threatened by what his disciples reported. He could have been tempted to defend his status, but he didn’t. Instead, John said, “Jesus must become more important while I become less important.”
He wasn’t afraid to tell those in power that they needed to repent, and he did this at great cost.
When he pointed out the governor’s sins, John was put in prison where he had time to evaluate all that had happened. He wondered if he might have interpreted things wrongly. Some interpreters have called John weak for this, but I don’t. Rather I admire him for the way he handled it. He didn’t let the doubt swell and grow; instead, he sent two of his disciples to Jesus to find out the truth.
Neither did Jesus see John as weak. He said that John was no waving blade of grass blowing in the wind. He was true to himself and true to his calling, and that’s the way I want to be. That’s why John the Baptist is my favorite biblical character. His example helps me be myself and be true to my calling.
Brenda Poinsett works with women who want a new lease on life and with adults who want to learn and grow. At retreats, conferences, and special events, Brenda offers encouragement and hope along with valuable information. She works at perfecting her communication skills through memberships in the National Speakers Association, Toastmasters International, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Along the way she came to see writing as another important avenue for sharing life-changing knowledge. She’s the author of more than 19 books, including He Said What?!, Not My Will, The Friendship Factor, Wonder Women of the Bible, When Saints Sing the Blues, and Holiday Living. Brenda and her husband, Bob, have three grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.