What should I do?
This time of year, I think that question probably creeps up more than ever, as we feel like we need to set goals for what we want to accomplish. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with setting goals, there’s something we need to do first, and I found it not too long ago in Luke 3.
John the Baptist, the first prophet who had appeared in centuries (There are 400 years of silence between the end of Malachi and the beginning of the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke + John!), had a familiar message of repentance for sin, and with it, a bold call to actually live for God.
I love how we see that he put it in Luke 3:8: “Therefore, bear fruits in keeping with repentance.”
Repentance isn’t just a prayer we pray or words we say. Our actions are supposed to show that we live differently when we live for God.
The Bible records that three different groups (the crowds, the tax collectors, and the soldiers) all asked John the same question after hearing his message:
“What shall we do?” (Luke 3:10; 12; 14)
See? That same question that probably plagues many of us at the beginning of a new year, quarter, month or simply just a Monday. And to each group, John had a response that has powerful application for us as well.
To the crowds:
“The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise” (Luke 3:11).
- Be generous.
Let’s be honest: In the work world, it’s more common practice to grab for all you can. Generosity is often more of a publicity stunt than a sacrifice.
But God calls us to focus on what we can give, not what we can get. I assure you:
Generosity will always leave you full, and greed will always leave you empty.
To the tax collectors:
“Collect no more than what you have been ordered to” (Luke 3:13).
- Do your job well + fairly.
In that day, tax collectors were synonymous with dishonesty. They earned a living by adding to the total that was due for the taxes and pocketing what was left over. And based on their plush lifestyles and poor reputation with the people, we can gather that they charged as much as they could get away with.
John’s instruction to the tax collectors not only told them to do their job well (“do what you have been ordered to”) but to be fair to the people.
So many times, I think we associated working “well” with our work wins bonuses, promotions, recognition, etc. But working well means to do the job we’ve been given to do, but to be about the best interest of those we’re serving, not our own benefits.
To the soldiers:
“Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14).
- Be content.
The soldiers John was addressing served the Roman government. No doubt, those calling the shots over the soldiers had a power trip, so modeling after the leadership they were shown, the soldiers were known for abusing their power over the people.
Bottom line: When earthly power is thrown around, people get hurt. And abusing our power is a symptom of the desire for more, which is an unquenchable thirst.
No amount of money can satisfy you. No position, applause, or amount of followers will ever be enough.
More will not solve an earthly power struggle; only contentment can.
But contentment isn’t a destination we arrive to when we finally decide that we have enough. Contentment is a choice that, no matter what we have, God is enough.
So before we try to decide what they want to accomplish in 2019, let’s really examine John’s responses.
He doesn’t give them a new goal to accomplish; he gives them a new way to live.
If we want to make 2019 our best year yet, we have to do something different. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a new business, a new product, or a new service.
I believe we will make the greatest impact in 2019 if we decided that, rather than being fiercely committed to accomplishing a certain goal, we will be fiercely committed to the way we work toward our goals instead.
Because that’s what God honors: actions + attitudes that reflect Him, not merely the end result.
Do your job well + fairly.
I’m rooting for you!
If you’re new around here, HI! she works HIS way exists to connect women pursuing Christ, family, and their work…in that order. Our goal is to provide biblical business training you can trust. This month, our focus is on “First Things First” – what it means to truly anchor our lives in what it means to be followers of Christ, investing in our families and stewarding well the gifts, talents, and influence God has entrusted to us. Head here to join the swHw community – we can’t wait to meet you!