“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.” Luke 3:10-11
It is a time of great vulnerability in the world. Older people and immunosuppressed people are particularly vulnerable to the novel virus spreading across our planet. Hourly wage earners are vulnerable to layoffs as workplaces close. Family-owned businesses, particularly in the service industries, are vulnerable to bankruptcy as revenues plummet to near zero and fixed costs continue their inexorable demands. Even Fortune 500 companies, if they rely on a consistent throughput of customers like airlines or entertainment venues, are facing an existential threat.
Our central banks are seeking to prop up financial markets. The healthcare industry is struggling to expand capacity. Our national governments are seeking to control borders and our local governments to limit our movements. These are all good things.
But what about us? Many of us who have been called into the community of Christ are wondering how we should respond to these harsh circumstances. We have come to God in prayer for our families, our communities, and our nations. We have repented of our sin and dedicated ourselves to His calling. Now what? What does God ordain for His children when they look to Him for direction?
John the Baptist can help us on that question. In our text for today, he provides a clear directive to those who would be true to the calling of God. One instruction we have clearly from his message is to love our neighbors. Not just to pray for them and wish them well, although those are required also, but to love them in spirit and truth. To love them is to treat them as if they are us and to share what we have with them. To be family.
This is not a question of social justice. We don’t conduct our families on a principle of justice. We conduct them on the principle of love.
Christians, love your neighbors!