Someone rightly said, “If all people see is you and your efforts to build a platform, then you are stealing the show.” The clamour for people’s attention in a minister should be of concern. With the rise of social media, the temptation is ever real. Where does one draw the line? On the one hand, it is a wonderful tool for ministry. On the other, the dangers of self-praise are ever-present. Every man knows the motives behind his actions. One famous prayer should be every minister’s. Each line starts with the refrain, “Not I, but Christ.”
John the Baptist is a fascinating character. He plays an essential role in the narrative of the Gospels. Yet he is so peripheral we often don’t pay attention to him. Almost always, you hear him mentioned; it is, by the way, which was the role God intended him to play all along. Every time John speaks, he is pointing to Christ and deflecting focus from himself.
Interestingly, Jesus called him the greatest man that ever lived; only, at the same time, the least in the kingdom (Matthew 11:11). John the Baptist was always humble in his self-assessment. Notice the phrases used to refer to or describe him: he was not the light; I am not the Christ, nor Elijah or the prophet; a voice in the wilderness; and I must decrease. Finally he ended up in prison and beheaded. It is not a glamorous ministry. Neither is it one you crave. Yet John, by Christ’s estimations, was the greatest.
What lessons can we learn from the life and ministry of John the Baptist?
Ministerial Platforms Come from God
John answers, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).
This perspective of life and ministry will save many of us from envy of other people’s success and from jostling for attention and praise from people. Ministry platforms and opportunities come from God, and they are to be used for him, not self-promotion or exaltation.
This perspective will also ensure that you are content with your ministry, whether it is celebrated or little-known. Christians with this perspective are satisfied with being forgotten. They recognise a difference between proclaiming and promoting the cause of Christ and promotion of self. Oh, for wisdom to know the difference.