Day 40 – Sharing Shirts
On: December 10, 2014   |   By: admin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

“‘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 baptised. ‘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.'” [Luke 3:10-14]

I’m a bit of a shirty type! I can’t resist a crisp new shirt and I am in possession of many more than I will ever need. But, modestly to my credit, I do try to keep my wardrobe the same size, by passing on to the charity shop as many as I buy. I think of it as refreshing my choice not stockpiling a hoard! Nevertheless the tendency to acquire, to be greedy, to grumble, lurks not far from the surface in most of us.

John is being quizzed by the crowd on how to bear the fruit of true repentance. A cynical eye would suggest that their more urgent priority was to avoid being on the receiving end of verse 9’s axe and ending up in the fire!

John’s response – share, don’t exploit, be content – resonates with the Old Testament exhortation of the prophet Micah: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Mercy stimulates sharing; justice forbids exploitation; humility leads to contentment. Try reversing it: if we humble ourselves before God, the mere idea of exploitation will seem outrageous and we will find ourselves wanting to share not just our possessions but the good news of the One who has turned our life around.

What should we do then?

Prayer:

Father God, it’s too easy to float comfortably on the surface of religious observance, at no cost to ourselves. Forgive us where we do this. Open our eyes to see how we might go deeper, allowing our attitudes and actions to be governed by justice, mercy and humility – whatever the cost. That those on the receiving end might wonder at our obedience and see Your glory. Amen.

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