John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” – Luke 3:7-11
Seems that people from all over were coming to John the Baptist. He was gaining popularity and folks were drawn to him to be baptized. You would think that would be an OK thing. You would think that John would celebrate that. High fives when people come up from the water. Cheers from the crowds as they saw more people come through the field to the water’s edge.
Not so. John swings a big hammer.
The thing I love about this scripture is that John cuts right to the heart. People were coming to be baptized as a ritual. Just a thing to do to make God happy. They would get wet but their life wouldn’t change much.
Maybe the crowd was a bit irritated. “Hey John, we are out here getting baptized and now you are telling us that isn’t enough? What do you expect from us? What do you want?”
John’s immediate response is often overlooked and rarely lived out. “Stop living for yourself. Learn to share.”
How much stuff do I really need? Does it make sense that I have enough worldly stuff for 2 or 3 people while seeing other people in need? Oh, I’m great at rationalizing the whole thing. I have become a master at that. They should get an education, or a job. They should be better with their money. They made some bad choices and are now learning a hard lesson. Geeze, I really disgust myself sometimes. Maybe the 1st part of being a follower of Christ is to dry ourselves off from the water of baptism and start living in community. Real community. Community that costs me something.
Mother Teresa has a quote that has been rocking me pretty good:
“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
God, help me live outside of myself. Help me live in real community and see the things I have as not my own. And help me fight the battle in my gut.
Sharing. Didn’t I learn this in kindergarten?
[tags]devotions, life journaling, John the Baptist, church, Jesus, God[/tags]