Scripture: Luke 3:1-14
Key verses: (10-11) And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11 In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”
Reflection: It is that time of year again. Take out the fall and winter clothes and put up some of the summer clothes. When I moved to North Carolina, this became a new ritual as October approaches. Living in Florida, we had one wardrobe for one season. I absolutely love living in Charlotte, but I miss my one wardrobe days. It also reminds me every year that I HAVE WAY TOO MANY CLOTHES!
This scripture is a call to repentance. The audience who first heard these words wanted to know what they should do to repent. Perhaps the response is one we also need to hear. Repentance is turning from self-centered actions, to radical love of neighbor. “Whoever has two coats must share with those who have none.” Don’t hoard more than you need, be content.
In my first church, the pastor I worked with would continually challenge us with this scripture. Jim Bullock had a heart for children and would ask if anyone had a room empty in their home. An extra room would be perfect for one of God’s children living in foster care. Many responded and did just that, offering not only a room but room in their heart for children lost and alone in this world.
Jim’s words will always stick with me because it is not just about giving away the things we don’t want anymore. It is about repenting and living more simply. It is about opening our heart and loving our neighbor. It is about finding contentment in things other than clothing and possessions. Let us find contentment in God’s love and in loving our neighbor.
Prayer: God, source of all life and love, may we embody our thanks with generosity, may we offer our lives through acts of compassion for our neighbor, may we be always mindful of your gifts of love and life itself. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].