I believe that love always wins over fear, but I wish this was how I actually lived daily. For instance, I don’t always share my food when asked, fearing that I will not have food when I am hungry tomorrow. I don’t always give my clothes to somebody who needs them, fearing that I will not have it when I need it someday. The worst is when I do not share my time helping somebody out, fearing that I will not have time for myself. So is love truly the winner over fear in my life?
In today’s Scripture, we initially see aggression in John’s words when he speaks about how we will be judged depending on the fruit we produce. In order to produce good fruit, his message was to simply love. This sounds unbelievably easy but what should we really do about our fear? Can we really simply just love and share and care for one another, even as we appropriately care for ourselves? Because of today’s culture that promotes individualism and independence, this is very difficult. But we are invited to not worry about the future, and rather to ask ourselves each moment and each day if we are doing the right thing. If this means giving roll that we were going to eat for tomorrow’s lunch to somebody who needs it, so be it.
In the end, all that truly matters is whether we loved.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 3:7-18 (NRSV)
John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’
And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’
So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.