Luke 3:7-18 - What should We do to Get Ready?

 

 

I baptize with water but one mightier is coming7 Here is a sample of John’s preaching to the crowds that came for baptism: “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming judgment? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say, ‘We’re safe—we’re the descendants of Abraham.’ That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
10 The crowd asked, “What should we do?”
11 John replied, “If you have two coats, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 “Show your honesty,” he replied. “Make sure you collect no more taxes than the Roman government requires you to.”
14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers.
John replied, “Don’t extort money, and don’t accuse people of things you know they didn’t do. And be content with your pay.”
15 Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 He is ready to separate the chaff from the grain with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, storing the grain in his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” 18 John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.

What should We do to get Ready?

                                                                                      

When Colleen thought about Christmas, she couldn’t help but feel excited. She loved everything about this time of year; the decorations, the parties and especially the presents. This year she had the whole Christmas thing figured out. She knew what she wanted and she had a plan for how to get it. She really wanted some new figure skates and if she told her Grandma that her skates were too tight grandma might buy her a new pair. She also really wanted a better skate bag, but she thought as long as she doesn’t spend very much on her brother’s Christmas present that she would be able to buy it for herself with the money her father gave her so she could buy some Christmas presents. She made her list and started walking to town.      As she turned the corner, she saw Tina, a girl Colleen recognized from her Figure Skating Club. Tina was older and absolutely awesome. Some people say she was going to make it to the Olympics. Colleen walked behind her for a couple of blocks, wondering where she was going. She was surprised when Tina walked into a church. Colleen thought, “This is weird. If you are as good as she is, I thought that all you did was skate.”      Colleen waited a few minutes and when Tina didn’t come out, she followed her inside. When Colleen opened the church door, she could see people lined up to get into the hall. Colleen worked her way to the front of the line and peeked through the doors. She saw Tina at the back of the kitchen, smiling and laughing as she washed dishes. Just then an elderly gentleman asked Colleen if she was waiting for a seat. Colleen looked at the people that were eating and asked the man, “What is this place?” “Um.. No. Is that Tina over there?” Colleen asked him. “Yes,” he answered, “she comes every Saturday morning to help with the dishes. Do you know her?”

“No, not really,” Colleen replied.

“Do you want to sit down… or um were you here to help us out?” the man asked.

“Sure, can I do dishes?” Colleen couldn’t believe her own words. She had never asked to do dishes before. She usually tried to find ways not to do dishes. Colleen made her way to the kitchen and stood beside Tina. Tina smiled and said, “Hi.”

“Hi. Are you Tina?” Colleen asked.

“Yeah, I think I recognize you from the Skating Rink,” Tina answered.

“Yes, that is me. I think you are so awesome, and I want to be just like you.” Colleen gushed.

“Thanks, I guess,” said Tina.

“So, why are you here, are you in trouble or something?” Colleen asked. Tina stopped washing and looked at Colleen “No, I don’t think so.”

“I mean, are you being punished for something, you know, why are you washing dishes?” Colleen asked.

“ Oh, I see what you mean,” she laughed. “No I come here because it helps me get ready for Christmas.”

“Do you get money for doing this?” asked Colleen.

“No,” Tina laughed. “It doesn’t help me get ready to buy presents, it helps me get ready for Jesus.”

“I don’t understand,” said Colleen.

“Christmas is about getting ready for the birth of Christ. My family gets our house ready with decorations, cards and a tree and we also do things to get our hearts ready.” Tina explained.

“How do you get your heart ready for Jesus?” asked Colleen.

“I guess that is different for each person. A long time ago some people were gathered around the river Jordan and they were talking to a man named John the Baptist. They were waiting for the Messiah too and they asked him the same question. He told them ‘if you have two coats, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.
Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”
“Show your honesty,” he replied. “Make sure you collect no more taxes than the Roman government requires you to.”
“What should we do?” asked some soldiers.
John replied, “Don’t extort money, and don’t accuse people of things you know they didn’t do. And be content with your pay.’ ”

Colleen said, “I don’t understand what that means.”

Tina explained, “John said to be ready for Jesus we should give food and clothes to the poor and hungry and to be honest and to be fair and to be happy with what people give you. He also told them to make sure they were worshiping the Messiah, not other people.”

“Why would they worship other people?” asked Colleen.

“I think John was worried that they liked him so much that they would do those things because he told them to, not because they really wanted to get ready for Jesus”.

Colleen thought about why she was washing dishes and started to feel bad. Tina continued to talk about the things she did to get her heart ready for Jesus and Colleen continued to think about Christmas. Colleen didn’t have Christmas figured out at all. She was planning on being dishonest, unfair and selfish just to get what she wanted. When the two girls finished washing dishes Colleen saw Tina close her eyes and fold her hands. Tina stood quietly for a few seconds and then she smiled. Colleen asked her what she was doing

“ I was thanking God for this day and the fun I had, and for you to share this with. Then I thought about my heart as a cleaner, warmer and more inviting place for Jesus to be, and well, it felt good,” Tina said.

Tina and Colleen walked home together. When Tina said goodbye and left, Colleen ran inside and headed straight upstairs. Her Father watched her fly by and said, “Where are you going in such a hurry?”

“I have to get ready for Christmas!” Colleen explained.

“I thought you already made your Christmas wish list?” said her dad.

“I did, I thought I was ready, but I haven’t really started. Someone important is coming soon and I have some work to do before he gets here ”

By Rob Neves - The narration of this story and others by Rob Neves are also avaialble in CD format. Click here for more information.

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