"After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
If I were to use one sentence to summarize John the Baptist's leadership style I would say this: John the Baptist was fully committed to building someone else's kingdom instead of his own. When reading Mark's account of the desert prophet, I am struck by the wild popularity of John prior to Jesus' arrival. Yet, even though he could have gained wealth, position, possession and more; John chose instead to lose everything (even his head) in order to point people to Jesus.
Mark doesn't devote a great deal of ink to the story of John, but what he does say is profound. Below are 10 reflections of mine from Mark 1:1-8.
John the Baptist was a celebrity who could have greatly benefited from a solid self-promotion campaign. Instead, he chose to point everyone to Jesus.
John's refusal to "build his own ministry" was counter-cultural then and now.
Be wary of "spiritual leaders" who are masters of self-promotion.
John the Baptist's birth was miraculous, it was preceded by an angel's visit, and he was personally the fulfillment of several OT prophecies. Yet he described himself as lowlier than a slave when compared to Jesus.
No matter how much you've accomplished, pride is always the wrong response.
The only thing John the Baptist could offer to people was greatly inferior to what Jesus could offer them.
Jesus is far superior to anything or anyone else we could ever offer to people.
Despite drawing massive crowds, John the Baptist didn't consider himself successful except when he was pointing people to Jesus.
The size of the crowd doesn't always indicate the success of the ministry.
The most important thing any Christian can do with their life is point people to Jesus.