What Then Should We Do?

A reading for Thursday, April 16, 2015: Luke 3:1-14.

John the Baptist baptized in the wilderness. "And the crowds asked him, 'What then should we do?'”

There are moments when we are suddenly aware of God's presence in our lives. It's the smile of someone we love, or good news we never expected to hear. It's also sometimes in something painful or difficult, and the feeling that we are not alone. Perhaps it's even a wake up call to something that needs fixing or injustice. John said "Bear fruits worthy of repentance."

It is in those moments when we ask the same question... "What then should we do?"

John's answer seems to be to live the life only we can live, using the gifts only we can use. To the one who has two coats, share one. To the one who has food, share it. Even to the tax collector, use your power and your position to do right by others. Use your personal power to respond to the gospel.

We live in an age in which we are told only group power matters. In politics, in social media, and even in churches the message is that being part of the crowd is what matters. And worse, the size of the crowd determines whether or not action is important. So organizers want big crowds. Social media sites want lots of followers and likes. Even churches idolize the numbers of people that show up for events and programs.

John has a different message. Life is a gift from God, and what you do with that gift is your gift in return. Use your personal power, what you can do in responding to the gospel from the abilities given to you by God.

Last night we heard from singer/songwriter Kathy Mattea. She is using her voice, her musical talent and her notoriety in country music to advocate for better and more responsible environmental practices, especially when it comes to mining coal. Kathy is from West Virginia and her family mined coal for generations. She is part of the movement against strip mining and pollution of our natural resources, but more importantly she is using her personal power to respond to the gospel. It's an inspiring message.

John was asked, "What then should we do?" and he responded, "Bear fruits worthy of repentance!"


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