Reflections on Lent
Much of the Christian world will begin to observe the 40 days of Lent, starting March 1. As part of their practice, they may give up a particular food or habit, they may commit to additional time in God’s word and prayer, and many will fast, either a specific meal, or a more stringent fast, eliminating certain food groups, such as meats or sweets. The point of these actions is to see how mindlessly we fill our lives with temporary pleasures instead of filling ourselves with God.
When I fast, it quickly becomes apparent to me how self-centered my thinking is and how this self-talk feeds my behaviors. For example, in the morning, I will usually grab a light breakfast to bring to work. As I parked my car by the building today, I was listening to the radio. After a minute or two, I thought, “I’d better go in. I’m starving!” And then I thought about what I had just thought. I wasn’t starving. I have never been starving, not even when I’ve had to fast the day before a medical procedure. I have no clue what it is like to be starving. And how selfish am I to compare my minor pangs of hunger to the real plight of people in third-world countries, such as Haiti, who don’t eat in a week what I might eat at a meal.
- Over 5% of children will die during birth.
- There is no accurate accounting of the number of disabled children.
- In 2017, it is estimated that 48,000 children 5 years old or younger will suffer from severe acute malnutrition (Unicef)
- 59% of Haitians live on $2.42 or less/day and 24% live on $1.23/day. (World Bank, September, 2016)
As I continue to look inwardly, I need to more carefully monitor my thought life and self-talk. I need to turn my mind to being more thankful for all that God has bestowed on me, to be a good steward of it, and to use it to bless others. During this season of Lent, one way to live this out will be for me to take the money usually spent on sweets and extra food and use it to bless those who are never certain when they will have their next meal.
How can you use this Lenten season to bless others?