While spending a few days in the great outdoors, a bird woke me up one morning before dawn. His persistent singing eventually roused the rest of his winged friends, who also sang until the trees teemed with excitement. It was as if the first tweets I heard were a lullaby for the night animals and an alarm clock for the day creatures. One bird appeared to prepare an entire forest for the sun to rise.

The early bird’s song reminded me of John the Baptist—“a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!’ ” (Matthew 3:3). John’s off-the-grid life in the Judean wilderness included camel-hair clothing and a diet of bugs and wild honey. His no-nonsense life mirrored his message: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2).

People from Jerusalem, Judea, and the Jordan Valley came to hear God’s “mountain man” preach. Hearing led to believing and then baptism in the Jordan River. Eventually, the religious officials learned about John and came to question him. They wanted to know if he was the Messiah. Of course, John told the truth: “I baptize with water . . . . But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am” (Matthew 3:11).

God used John—a humble, unsophisticated person—to wake the world to Jesus’ identity as the Messiah (John 1:32-34). Like the bird that heralded the dawn, the prophet announced that the long-expected One was about to arrive on the scene.

Maybe, like John, you value simple living. Maybe you feel as if you don’t fit in with those around you. It doesn’t take money or style to have passion and purpose. By the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus provides all you need to sing His song.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Kings 22:29-40