DEVOTIONS @ 205.825.9633
Senior Minister Ricky A. Woods
@ 8:15am & 7:15pm
Dial (205) 825-9633 a few minutes ahead of the scheduled start time.
P.S. REMEMBER, DON'T ANNOUNCE YOURSELF AFTER THE START TIME AND PLEASE PUT YOUR PHONE ON MUTE!
In every generation, people seek directions for their lives. We may all have some idea of what we should do and want to do but there beats within us the desire for validation. We want to know if we are doing the right thing, making the right choices, living a life that makes a difference.
Three distinct groups come to John in the wilderness near the Jordan River where he has set up a ministry that challenges the social, political and theological constructs of his day in Israel. The multitudes, the tax collectors and the soldiers all come to John with the same question--what shall we do?
Each group understood there were demands placed upon them in their position that helped uphold a system of oppression. Each group understood that they bore some responsibility for the community that had help to create this situation.
Although they may have not been involved in the policy decisions, the choices they made in their roles each day had helped to maintain polices that were not always just. In their search for direction, John provided a vision for their choices that was connected with God’s intent for humanity.
We should not live our lives concerned only about our welfare. We should not just keep our head down and do our job and hope for the best. We should be concerned about others in ways that we recognize their humanity. Every person we encounter rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, bond or free has been created in the image of God. Thus, John told the multitude to share what they had with those who were less fortunate.
John told the tax collectors to be fair and only take what was right. Finally, he told the soldiers not to abuse their power, not to commit unnecessary violence to people and not to make false charges against the people. Moreover, they were to be satisfied with their pay. They were not to use the lack of pay as an excuse to extort the people. What John made clear was there was no division in the secular and sacred and our lives are intertwined in ways that tell the truth about who we are.
John’s words need to be heard again in this current environment when politicians would risk the welfare of the economy and prevent needy families from receiving the assistance they need.
John’s words need a second hearing in the midst of police misconduct and an ex-president who pays no taxes when you and I are made to pay more than our fair share. We need the kind of direction that will tell us what is right and how we do not have to play by the rules of a world infested with sin.
The redeemed have something to say about the choices they make. So, let the redeemed say so.