Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Facebook had numerous mentionings of it. Several are actually surrendering Facebook during this 40-day period before Easter; others are sacrificing, well, the list is endless and doesn't really matter. Lent’s about sacrifice, right? Giving up something important as an act of worship, a reminder of Christ’s sufferings on our behalf, a clearing of “life-clutter” to create more time to focus on Him? I think it is a wonderful thing: self-sacrifice in order to grow closer to Christ. And the lists of things to give up, sacrifice, or fast from (however you want to word it) are legion. Facebook, television, secular music, Internet, alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, meat, sweets, soft drinks, new shoes, or anything that robs our time with God or replaces Him in our lives are good choices for the chopping block called Lent.
But I’ve been wondering….
What might please God more?
Giving up shopping trips or giving up grudges?
Forgoing Face Book or forgoing gossip?
Feeling chocolate cravings or feeling an overwhelming burden for the lost?
Leaving the TV. off or leaving our comfort zone to share God’s love with someone out of our social standing, religious convictions, or racial class?
Last year the Christian radio station K-Love gave a 40-day challenge to “do everything without complaining.” (Philippians 2:14) I opted out of the challenge. It was summer time in Mississippi and I knew, “It is SOOOOO hot!” would come out of my mouth numerous times. Giving up chocolate would have been easier.
This brings us back to the question. What am I relinquishing for Lent this year? I haven’t yet decided. Maybe nothing at all. (Just being honest.) I like what Barbie Bassett said, “As a Christian I am to deny myself daily.” Hmmmmm…. 365 days is a lot longer. Maybe I should choose sacrificing for Lent instead of daily for the rest of my life. (Is that even an option?) Also, if something has such a grip on me that it is worth giving up for 40 days, should it be in my life at all? These are the questions that plague me.
As I search for answers I’m reminded of two things:
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
“If I give all I posses to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3
Hopefully I’ll get it figured out before Easter.