Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. (Mark 1:6 ESV)
A friend of mine was recently telling me of the hard time he had concentrating on a DVD series of preaching he was watching. It wasn’t because the teacher wasn’t a good teacher or that his teaching was wrong. It was because of what the teacher was wearing and his surroundings. The teacher was dressed in an old suit and his surroundings looked like an older church building.
You see, my friend comes from a church where the pastor dresses hip and the church has big screens and cool lights. He ended up enjoying the DVD series, but needed to make sure he had the right attitude while watching them. Because of this attitude shift he learned a lot and grew in his spiritual life.
I wonder how many of us do this exact same thing when we see someone teaching the Bible? Do we look at their clothes and their surroundings and assume they won’t understand our culture or be relevant to us? It can work the other way around too. I have had older people ask for my forgiveness after preaching because they judged me by my appearance and age.
Imagine John the Baptist. He must have been a sight to see when he came out of the wilderness in prophet’s garb, wearing camel’s hair clothing while yelling at people and telling them they were sinners. But Jesus said that there was no greater man than him (Luke 7:28). How would we react to John the Baptist today? What we must remember is that it is the power of the message and not the image of the messenger. God’s word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12) and breaks all barriers and bridges cultures whenever preached.
Have you been judging the message by the messenger?