Some years ago my wife and I were at our favorite Florida “tourist trap,” the village of Tarpon Springs. This is the largest Greek community in the United States and the original home of deep sea diving to harvest natural sponges. Alongside the “sponge docks” was a craft fair. I spotted a little wooden plaque that said “WWJBD.” Hmm, I wondered, that can’t stand for “What would Jesus do?” so I asked someone, who was not sure, but thought maybe it stood for a well-known guitar player or singer with these initials. Well, I bought it for a few dollars and used it for an object lesson—“What would Joseph Brown do?” The point was to prompt the question: do my actions (or yours) reflect the character of Jesus Christ? Would we do what He would do in every aspect of our lives?
I recently decided it would be a better lesson if I suggest that “WWJBD” might stand for “What would John the Baptist do? Why would that be quite meaningful? I point you to the prophecy the angel Gabriel made before little John was born: he “shall be filled with the Holy Spirit . . . and many of the children of Israel shall He turn unto the Lord their God. And he shall go before his face in the spirit and power of Elijah . . . to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.” Luke 1:15-17. So I think that “WWJBD” could refer to John the Baptist, a Spirit-controlled man who influenced people toward God, who ministered something that helped fathers to be good parents, and encouraged children to honor their fathers. He even helped “the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the just.” Wow! The result was “people prepared” to meet God!
As a church pastor, part of my job description is to help people, as John did, to be ready to meet Jesus—either at their death or when He returns in the sky. But isn’t that a mission we should all have—praying for people, encouraging them, and pointing them to God by our words and actions? Couldn’t you, shouldn’t you, be able to put your own initials on a little plaque? As disciples of Jesus we want to be transformed by grace and the power of the gospel to become more and more like Him!
One of many ways that we can follow the example of Jesus is by keeping the Sabbath as He did. The Sabbath is a special opportunity to pray for people who are on our hearts. Sometimes we may even have the opportunity on this day to encourage them in practical ways, as well.