When the crowds hearing John the Baptist’s message come to repentance and ask him how they should now live, I imagine they were a bit surprised by his answer. John lives off in the wilderness. He lives weird. He eats weird, dresses weird, acts weird. So it would stand to reason that, if you wanted to follow him, you should start doing weird stuff too. You should probably leave your world behind, running from everything lightly connected to your life of sin. You should probably put on camel hair and get used to eating bugs.
But John’s answer is bizarrely normal. If you have two tunics, share with your neighbor who doesn’t have one. Same with food. If you’re a tax collector, you don’t have to give that up. Just do it faithfully without defrauding people. You can be a soldier just don’t be an extortionist thug.
And so it is for us today. If you want to follow John, then follow Jesus. And if you want to follow Jesus, you don’t need to run off into the wilderness. You don’t need to join a monastery or a nunnery to get closer to your Lord. You don’t need to cast off your earthly vocations. You just need to fulfill them faithfully.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. Soldiers, protect the innocent. Business owners, charge fair prices and pay fair wages. Pastors, preach the world faithfully. Hearers, receive that word with joy and thanks. Share your money with those God places into your life who don’t have enough. Share your time with those who are lonely and forsaken by the world. Whatever your vocation, remember that you don’t need to protect yourself from this world at the expense of your neighbor because Christ has overcome this world. Remember that you don’t need to rely on sin to fulfill your needs because the Lord who has destroyed your sins knows your needs and will keep His promises. Don’t run from your responsibilities. Fulfill them faithfully. That’s how you lead the baptized life.