‘Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.’ Mark 1:6 (NRSV)
Strange? Different? Yes, and definitely peculiar. This was John the Baptist. He certainly must have stood out in the crowd. Not that John was trying to draw attention to himself. He was not loud or showy. No, quite the opposite. In fact in John 3:30, John said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ John was distinguished from others because his simplicity made him different. He was unencumbered by the latest fads and fashions. He ate what was necessary and wore what was serviceable. John had a purpose, a call from his Heavenly Father and no fancy mod-cons or current cultural trends were going to deter him.
How easily we are distracted by the society around us. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. This call to the simple life is contrary to how most of us choose to live. However, when Christ does increase, all things are put in their rightful place. Life does become simpler as our focus on God becomes greater. And we will blend in no more. Our simple life that is focussed on seeking the Kingdom of God first will distinguish us as different. Like John, we will be known as followers of Christ, rather than followers of secular society.
We are a chosen people, called to be peculiar, different and separate from the world.
How does the example of John challenge us today? In what ways is God inviting us to seek him first so that life becomes much simpler?