Luke 3:10-14 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
John the Baptist had just come on the scene, and is recorded here preaching a fiery message. The introductory phrase to this sermon was “O generation of vipers” – not exactly what we’d learn in homiletics class as a good intro. And yet the people responded in eagerness to his preaching. The publicans, the soldiers, and others in the crowd began to ask, “what must we do”? You’d think he’d talk about their forefathers killing the prophets. Or maybe he’d mention their moral status. Or maybe, he could talk about the whole nation of Israel and lump them in it as a people turned away from God. But John the Baptist decided to ask them to do something that really showed that they were ready to repent. He touched one of the deep issues that has a hold on the heart of mankind – their money and possessions.
To the publicans he said, “don’t take more than you should” (for your own gain). To the other people he said, “if you have food or an extra coat, give the extra possessions away”. To the soldiers he said, “be content with your wages”. I think John knew that if someone was ready to be truly repentant, and ready to live for Christ (like Jesus discerned with the rich young ruler), it is best shown in our willingness to part with money and possessions. My prayer today is that I’d take a self-evaluation in my heart and life. Is my money, or are my possessions getting in the way of what the Lord wants to do in my life? Am I willing to part with some things for the sake of His kingdom and others? Am I Covetous? Because where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.