5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. Mark 1:5-6
I believe we’ve only seen a sanitized view of John the Baptist. His diet was one none of us would choose, his clothing was certainly not what others were wearing during that period, but his message must have been forceful.
A friend of mine recalled going to a Billy Graham crusade. She remarked that his preaching was what she considered mediocre at best but when he gave the altar call, hundreds came forward. Thousands or hundreds of thousands were regularly praying for Billy Graham and his ministry. The anointing was on him and his message. Usually people came to those crusades by invitation of a believing friend. The seeds had been sown long before the crusade took place. Billy Graham just helped to facilitate their conversion.
Not surprisingly, though, many “strays” flocked to a Billy Graham crusade to see what the big fuss was, as they did with John the Baptist.
Could the wild man preach? What was the big fuss?
The “problem” they ended up having was they would actually listen to John, and the Holy Spirit would convict them. They were no longer spectators, but active participants in what John was doing. In fact, they were the reason he did what he did. If he hadn’t been so wild and up front, he probably wouldn’t have garnered such a broad audience.
In many countries across the world, single men and women put themselves in harms’ way for the gospel. They take more risks, are more mobile, and are in greater danger. They, like John the Baptist attract people who would not otherwise be attracted. I recall a single man in Mongolia who decided he wanted to go evangelize a group of people in the western part of the country. Very few Westerners had ever been there and he believed this was their time. How many seeds were planted during his time there is hard to tell. He did have adventures that you only read about in Missions books.
Still, there are men and women who feel called to go these more remote regions to do and eat things you and I shudder at. It’s not only Westerners who are doing this. I’ve heard that many in the Chinese church are doing this in large numbers. They believe they have only small windows of time to do this before their own government catches on and imprisons them.
Pray that thousands of other “wild” men and women are raised up to do this very thing, and then pray for their sustained activity while there.