Just what is the acid test of true repentance and godliness?
- Our consistent prayer life?
- Our faithfulness in sharing Christ with others?
- Our discipline in paying our bills on time and not chasing women (or men)?
But John the Baptist, a no-nonsense spokesman for the Gospel, targeted three areas where so-called converts should PRODUCE FRUIT IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE.” In today’s vernacular he would well be saying, “PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!” That is, prove your repentance by evidencing true:
- GENEROSITY – “If you have two coats, give one away… do the same with your food.“
- INTEGRITY – “No more extortion – collect only what is required by law.“
- CONTENTMENT – “Don‘t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.” (Luke 3:10-14; The Message; niv)
Could it be that John the Baptist knew that for many of us the last part of our lives to be surrendered to God is our wallet? Jesus knew that if He had the commitment of our money, He also had our heart:
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:21)
Recently, I was sitting in a hotel lobby and noticed a prominent “Christian” businessman praying with a pastor and another colleague. Well-known around town for his generous support of Christian causes, this gentleman also enjoys the dubious standing among his peers as a “shark” in business. Judging from his reputation, I doubt he would pass John the Baptist’s test of true repentance and godliness!
QUESTION – Just who does control your purse strings? You, or God? Would those closest to you in business say you are generous with your money, guided by integrity, and content with your income?
If the answer to these questions is not a resounding “yes,” then there is a pretty lean chance you are having a true spiritual ministry in the lives of others. After all, Christ cautioned us, “If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11)