Give up; give to.
I’ve heard it often: “What did you give up for Lent?”
The question—usually between friends—usually spawns a mildly competitive conversation. One person gave up Facebook; the next gave up Facebook AND television; the last gave up Facebook, television, soda AND chocolate (a superhuman effort by any measure)! One’s spiritual fervor—and likely spiritual blessing—seems determined by the depth of sacrifice.
But we ought to ask another question. “What do you give to for Lent?
Historically, Lent marks a season of both fasting and giving. We recognize that the real value of the season lies in the balance between introspection and service. Lent is, after all, not merely a personal experience but a corporate one.
We make personal choices, but with a Kingdom mindset. How can your fasting for Lent produce service to others?
Perhaps it’s money you save…and then give. If you fast from Starbucks coffee each morning, the $20 you save each week during Lent could make a difference to address poverty or sex slavery in another part of the world.
Perhaps it’s time you save…and then give. If you fast from television, the hours you spent on the couch could significantly support a homeless or troubled-youth ministry in your own area.
The danger, of course, is that Christ may grip your heart in ways you never anticipated. Lent could transform you. Be warned.
We gain the most when we look both to ourselves and beyond ourselves. In the middle of this second week of Lent have you identified not only what you give up for Christ but also what you give to for Him?
Lord Jesus, just as you multiplied a few loaves and fish to feed a multitude, so receive my “lunch” today and each day, and perform a miracle again for your own glory. Amen.