Many people came out into the wilderness to see John the Baptist. He preached a simple message of repentance. He told people to get rid of the sin in their lives so that they were ready for the coming of the messiah. Instead of looking within and searching their souls, many people asked John, “What should we do?” His advice was pretty simple.
To the common person who asked, John said if you have two of something, to give to one who has none. In doing so today we can clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, feed the hungry, and visit the orphan, widow, and prisoner. Yes, this sharing includes our time and our presence.
To the tax collector, many of whom were know to overtax so that they could line their own pockets, John said to collect only what is due. For the business owner this means to charge a fair price and to pay a fair wage. To the employee, to be content with your fair pay.
John’s advice to the soldier was to not extort or otherwise abuse one’s authority. This advise extends to all in positions of authority – to the judges and other government officials, to teachers and parents, to caregivers and providers, and to all else who have authority over another. In essence, John is saying to treat others with respect and dignity.
As we ask this same question, “What should we do?”, may we heed John’s advice. May we lay aside the greed, the self-centeredness, the desire for power and may we pursue the things he championed – sharing, giving, treating others well, and offering of self to others. What great ways to prepare ourselves for the coming of the messiah.
Scripture reference: Luke 3: 10-18