Even before Jesus' ministry was officially announced, John the Baptist set the foundation for the Gospel of Jesus in Luke 3 as he spoke to the crowds that were coming out to see and hear him.
From this passage of Scripture, we see the outlining of the specifics of this Gospel in the following manner:
- he preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (v. 3).
- he preached of producing good fruit in keeping with repentance (v. 8-9).
- he preached that good fruit would look like this: generosity! (v. 10-14).
The Generosity Gospel, not the Prosperity Gospel
First, John told the crowds to share their wealth of clothing and food. If you have two articles of clothing and someone else has no clothes, then give them one of yours. If you have food and someone else has none, then share your food (v. 11).
Second, he told the tax collectors not to collect more from people than what Roman law required them to collect (v. 12-13).
Third, he told the Roman soldiers three things in verse 14:
- don't extort money.
- don't accuse people falsely.
- be content with your pay.
So, how do we as Rich Christians apply the teachings of John the Baptist:
- Give back generously to others. If you see people hurting financially, you demonstrate the love of God and true repentance through helping others with your material possessions.
- Don't Steal. If people owe you money, ask for what is owed you, not what you think you can get out of others. This application could be applied in a business setting. Establish a fair and equitable charge for the time and talent you bring to your service.
- Don't use extortion or illegal methods to obtain money that is not truly owed to you. I doubt this a problem for most of us. Again, the application would most likely be useful in the arena of business.
- Don't lie. Always tell the truth in money matters. Maintain integrity in your finances.
- Be content. Display satisfaction with God's material blessings in your life.
So, how are you doing in each of these five areas of generosity and financial responsibility?