“So the people asked him, saying, ‘What shall we do then?’ He answered and said to them, ‘He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.’” (Luke 3:10-11 KJV)
John’s preaching drew a lot of attention. A people hungry to see the Messiah thought he might be the one and many went out into the middle of the wilderness to hear him preach. They asked if he was the Messiah, and his answer, in modern terminology was “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” When they asked what they should do, how they should live in preparation for the Messiah, he made it clear. Share with others, treat them with dignity and compassion, and do your job the right way, don’t use your position to oppress people. In short, John called on people to treat others, especially those in need or those taken advantage of by people in power, with fairness and dignity.
We could use that teaching today. In a world where people are hungry, are we finding ways to share food, or is it easier to “close the blinds,” so to speak, so that we don’t see the hungry people looking at us with longing in their eyes? If we’re wealthy, are we sharing our material goods with people in need, or do we attribute their neediness to some kind of sin to justify overlooking them? If we have power, whether it be political, social, or economic, are we using that power to enrich ourselves and our friends, or are we trying to find ways to use that power to benefit those who are powerless? Jesus positioned Himself with people in need (Matthew 25:31ff) and implied that one mark of the life of those who had been changed by His love was their concern for others in need. A lot of people are alert to others in need during the Christmas season. We need to recognize that needs exist all year long. The best way to give to help people in need is systematically, throughout the year, but if you do year end giving, make this year’s giving a time of beginning to feed the hungry, clothe those in need, empower the powerless, and care for those marginalized in society.
Lord, thank You for providing more than I need. Remind me to use it to care for others when they’re in need.
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