“And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’” (Luke 3:10-11)
John the Baptist really knows how to fire up his audience. He insults most of the congregation, and he threatens the rest of the group with a dire warning. So the people ask a dangerous question. What should they do to change? I wonder if they really want to know the answer.
Do they really want to know what they must do to transform? Do I really want to know what I must do to grow into the person God is calling me to be? Am I willing to do what is necessary?
For the people listening to John the Baptist, change means that they must share what they have. They can no longer hoard all the resources. They must give up a little of themselves to others, but the reward is that all people are warmed and fed. For us, change might mean giving up the illusion of control and power and sharing with others. We must give up the power, but then we receive the gift of equality.
This is all well and good, but will we actually do it? Do we believe that the Kingdom of Heaven is actually worth the letting go of what we hoard, what we control, or who we thought we were? For those listening to the prophet calling in the wilderness, the answer was yes. What will our answer be to the prophets’ call?
Go to your closet and count your coats (or other clothes). While you are looking at your coats, ask yourself: Do you wear them all? Are they all still in style? Is there one coat you wear more than others? Is there one coat you have not worn in over a year? Would you be willing to give away this coat? Are you not willing to give away this coat, and why not?
After you have looked in your closet and answered the questions, choose at least one item to give away.