John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. (Mark 1:6)

ALMOST EVERYTHING ABOUT JOHN the Baptist was rough. The place where he stayed was rough—the “desert region.” John was no city dweller; he hailed from the wilderness. He apparently enjoyed solitude.

His clothes were rough. He dressed in camel’s hair, and wore a leather belt. Even in John’s day, some people had finer clothes. People were skilled in weaving and producing finer materials. But John preferred the rugged skin of a camel.

His food was rough—locusts and wild honey. Had any barbecued locusts lately? Neither have I. Some Bible scholars think the word translated “locusts” could also be translated as a kind of bean or nut. Either way, it was the poorest of food. No gourmet cuisine for John. He liked it simple.

His message was rough—repent and be converted. William Barclay believed that part of John’s effectiveness was “because he told people what in their heart of hearts they knew and brought them what in the depths of their soul they were waiting for.”

Often our problem is not that we don’t know, but that we don’t act on what we know. Mark Twain said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

We don’t have to be as rough as John, but we do have to follow his message of repentance.

Put into practice today what you already know.

Ron McClung works at his denomination’s world headquarters and lives in Indiana with his wife, Carol. They have two sons and nine grandchildren.