John the Baptist's definition of his ministry was blunt and simple: "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness" (John 1:23). This servant of the Most High, who according to the Scripture was the greatest "among them that are born of women," was the most blessed of all the prophets and a revered preacher of righteousness.
The crowds flocked to hear John's scorching messages. Many were baptized and became his disciples and even royalty came under his mighty influence. Some thought he was Christ; others considered him to be Elijah raised from the dead.
John refused to be exalted or promoted. He was emptied of self-serving and he continually withdrew from center stage. In his own eyes the greatest of all prophets was not even worthy to be called a man of God—but only a wilderness voice, modest, retiring, and unconcerned about honor or usefulness. He didn't care about having a ministry or being "mightily used of God." In fact, he considered himself unworthy to even touch his Master's shoes. His entire life was devoted to "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world" (John 1:29).
What a powerful rebuke to us in this age of self-occupation, promotion of personalities, influence-grabbing, ego-tripping, and seeking of honors. John could have had it all, but he cried out, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). And to reach that goal, John kept reminding all who heard him, "I am just a voice."
The secret of John's happiness was that his joy was not in his ministry or in his work, not in his personal usefulness or widespread influence. His pure joy was to stand in the presence of the Bridegroom, hear his voice, and rejoice in it. His joy was in seeing others, his own disciples included, flocking to Jesus, the Lamb of God.
The greatest fulfillment a child of God can know is to lose self and all desire to be somebody, and simply rejoice in being a son or daughter who lives in the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being totally occupied with Christ is what satisfies the heart. John could stand there, in the Jordan River, with his eyes fixed on Jesus, and be delighted by his presence. He fed his soul on Christ—his heart was always going out to him in adoration and awe.