“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
“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.” – Luke 3:9-14
Some years ago, I visited my doctor. After some tests, he told me that I had borderline diabetes symptoms. This condition is also referred to as pre-diabetes. My doctor suggested that I make some lifestyle changes otherwise, my condition could progress to type 2 diabetes. This diagnosis was a wakeup call for me. I had to change my eating habits and begin a rigid exercise program.
Many of you who are reading this article today probably have been diagnosed with various kinds of ailments. As a result, you have had to make some changes to your life, otherwise your ailment could bring about an early death.
I have a brother who loved running long distances. However, when he was diagnosed with high blood pressure, he had to give up something he loved very much. His doctor said that his condition made it unsafe for him to do distance running.
The above gospel lesson talks about lifestyle changes. John the Baptist went before Jesus preaching repentance. He was telling the people to make some changes. Go in another direction.
The Greek word for repentance is metanoia a transliteration of the Greek word μετάνοια, which means to go in another direction, “change of mind, a re-orientation, a fundamental transformation, and a new way of loving others and God.”
In our world today, there are many people who need to make lifestyle changes. We have an opportunity to help them make those changes by helping them to see Jesus. Because we have made some lifestyle changes, they get to see Jesus. Yes, people see Jesus through us.
Like John, we point people to the cross of Jesus Christ. We help them to trust in God’s grace and mercy. Our mission, which was given to us by Jesus, through the apostles, is to build God’s kingdom here on earth.
How is your life? Are you using Advent as an opportunity to point people to Jesus, the Messiah? We are reminded, during Advent, that our Lord will come again. This time he will not come in poverty, nor will he be under the dominance of any world power.
When our Lord comes as king of king and Lord of lords, he will be the only power that matters. All governments will come under his authority.
That is the same message we give. I pray that more people will come to acknowledge the Savior during this Advent. I pray that through my life, the people I encounter will call upon the name of Jesus and experience the joy of his saving grace.
I also humbly pray during this Advent, firstly for our nation, and secondly, for the people of the world. I pray that we see more in Advent than the coming of Christmas, and the material things associated with it, but that we see the coming of a Savior, the greatest gift to human kind. I pray that all the people of the world make lifestyle changes for life. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, or telephone: 323-4107; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.