“Location, location, location,” goes the old adage about success in business. So why was it the John the Baptist was hanging out in such a desolate place – out away from the marketplaces and the temple court in Jerusalem? What does his choice of location have to say to us? Two things really.
First, John was truly fulfilling that prophesy of being “the voice crying in the wilderness,” but beyond that John was not only away from the religious establishment that would have shut him down but by setting himself apart he became that lone voice and was therefore not lost in the clamor of the city.
Secondly, by setting up shop in “the wilderness” he was not in the center of power, of wealth, or status.
So it is with the church today – or should be. We have a prophetic voice to proclaim not only the coming of the Lord but His very presence with us now. Like John we have a unique voice that speaks to the issue of sin in all its manifestations. It is a voice that addresses life as no other can. It make no excuses. It shows us for what we are and offers hope and solace rather than despair. Additionally, just as John went in to the wilderness and was on the fringes of society the church is called to be there too. We are called to be with those on the outside: the poor, the lonely, the hungry, the lost, the sad, etc.
Throughout history the church has always grown the most and been the most dynamic when it was on the margins rather than the “establishment.” Today is no different.
Almighty God, strengthen me that I might be able to be a voice crying in the wilderness. Fill me with courage that I might venture in to those places on the margins of society and reach out to your lost sheep. Help me to truly prepare the way of the Lord. AMEN.