“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.”
I don’t think of myself as being greedy until I clean out my closet. I eat too much food, so some of my clothes don’t fit. For sure, I have more clothes than I need. We have more than 20 screwdrivers in the screwdriver drawer in our tool chest. How many screwdrivers do we need? So, I repent because I am greedy, but what good does it do to repent for being greedy if I keep buying more stuff and if I don’t share the stuff that I’ve overbought with others? (If you need a screwdriver, I’ll send you one!)
John the Baptist said we should produce fruit in keeping with repentance. The crowd doesn’t understand, so they ask, “What should we do?” John knows that most of us are greedy, so he tells the crowd they should share with someone who has nothing. Tax collectors in his day, collected more money than required for extra income, so he tells them to repent and stop that practice. Soldiers in his day falsely accused people of crimes and then required money to set them free. John is telling them to stop extorting money and falsely accusing people. He’s telling all of us to be content with the pay we earn and not to sin for extra money. When we stop doing what we are repenting for and give to others, we are producing the fruit of repentance.
Lord, I’m sorry I’m greedy. Help me consume only the food my body requires. Let me always think about whether I need what I’m buying. Help me share with others.