May 3 I Monday
1 Kings 14-15
“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” —Luke 3:8
What is the evidence of true repentance that has taken place in our life? It begins with changing our mind, and then changing our speech by confessing our sin, which leads to changing our deeds. But what then should we do? Three groups of people asked the latter question to John the Baptist, who preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
The first group was the crowd and John said, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same” (Luke 3:11). If we are serious about repentance, then we are going to be generous with our possessions, caring about those who do not have what we have. Most of us have not thought of this as being the evidence of repentance; we try to spiritualize repentance and keep it in one category, thinking what we do with our own possession is another category altogether––but it is not.
The second group was the tax collectors and John said, “Don’t collect any more than you are required to” (Luke 3:13). This was a radical thing for tax collectors, because during that time, they were notoriously corrupt. Not only were tax collectors Jews employed by the imperial Roman government and therefore regarded as traitors to their own people, but as they collected a certain amount to Rome, how much they received above that amount was their own cut. The evidence of repentance is to be honest in our finances.
The third group was the soldiers and John said, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely––be content with your pay” (Luke 3:14). It is interesting that money comes up again, but on top of that John exhorted the soldiers not to abuse their power and to be content with their wages. The evidence of repentance is living within our resources without complaining.
Altogether, the evidence of repentance can be summarized thusly: being generous with our possessions, being honest with our finances and being content with what we have. When we do this, other people are going to become the beneficiaries of our repentance; in other words, people will know of our repentance by the way we treat them.
At the core, John deals with two important areas: pride and greed. Pride is taking ourselves more seriously than is warranted, and greed is exploiting the position we hold for our own advantage. May our lives show evidence of true repentance as we come to God in our humility, acknowledging our sins and seeking to be generous with our possessions, honest with our finances and content with what we have.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, I confess my sins to You. Open my heart of generosity, help me be honest with my finances and teach me to be content with what I have. Thank You, Jesus.