“I am not fit to remove His sandals.” (Matthew 3:11)
John the Baptist had a good perspective on himself and the focus of his ministry. This mission that he was proclaiming was NOT about HIM. It was about Jesus. In fact, he emphasized here, “I am not fit to remove His sandals.” He didn’t even compare with the One he had come to proclaim, and he was not shy about pointing everyone to Him, and not to himself. He emphasized this later in John, saying, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This wasn’t about him, but Jesus.
Here is a good word, and a good point of evaluation for every one of us who serves in Christian ministry. Are we pointing people to Jesus, or to ourselves?
In our teaching and preaching, are we pointing people to Jesus? OR do we instead seek to show what great preachers or teachers we are: how cultured, how intelligent, how “creative”, how “hip”, how “deep”, and so on? Even as we rightly seek to do our best in ministry, we have to be careful that we are really pointing folks to Jesus — and not in some subtle way to ourselves.
This applies even to “little” things like our dress and mannerisms. When we give special care to our dress, or try to to be very “stylish”, or dress in some idiosyncratic way that calls attention to ourselves, who are we calling attention to? Ourselves! But we need to remember that we are not here to “make a name for ourselves” or to have everyone remember us as “the guy with the great beard” or “the guy with the nice suits”, or “the girl with the stylish hair.” Again, there is nothing wrong with looking nice — we want to be good ambassadors for our Lord — but we also need to guard our motives, and make sure who it is that we are really seeking to call attention to.
John serves as a good reminder to us today: IT IS NOT ABOUT US! It is about us pointing people to Jesus.