So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?” He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:10-14 [NJKV]
These conversations with John the Baptist and the people who had come to hear what he had to say happened right after he got done telling them that they could not rest on being descendants of Abraham as a security from the wrath of God. Here we see multiple groups of people asking him for his wisdom in what they should do differently if they are going to turn their hearts back to God.
The primary response then they asked “What shall we do then?” was:
Be charitable to those in need.
I love how all of those who came, asking this question, did so as they were getting baptized into a recommitment to the Lord.
The Tax Collectors as this question and John’s response to them was:
Don’t rip people off by taking more from them for taxes than what the state requires.
Finally the soldiers (wow! soldiers were coming to be baptized!) asked and John said:
Don’t abuse your power by intimidating people or falsely accusing them. Be satisfied with your pay.
I think these are really good instructions for us today. We should all help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. If we are in any position where we collect money for any reason (sell something online, work at a store, a bank, etc) don’t charge or take more money than is necessary. If you are in a position of authority (a parent, boss, manager, coach, etc) don’t intimidate those underneath you or accuse them of something they didn’t do; something you don’t have the evidence to prove their guilt. Finally, be satisfied with what they Lord allows to fall into your hands regarding a wage. Be content with where the Lord has you. Each one of these things can be directly applied to my life.