Lent in Action

Recently, my wonderful wife Nannette posted on Facebook about Ash Wednesday.  I thought she has some wonderful wisdom about Lent and wanted to share it.  So, here it is…

Ash Wednesday. I grew up good ole’ Southern Baptist. I honestly don’t even remember Lent ever being mentioned. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t mentioned, but if it was…I don’t remember it. A friend introduced me to Lent several years ago. I liked the idea of taking that time to reflect on Jesus and what He truly did for me on the cross. It can be so easy to let Easter sneak up on me in the craziness of life. Many years I have given up things like junk food and fiction books during this time. I used the desire for junk food as a motivator to pray. I read my Bible instead of fiction. Both were good things for me in those times, yet also inwardly focused. But then one year, I had a conversation with a friend who is Catholic and very experienced with the season of Lent. This is a woman who really loves Jesus and is very devout in serving Him. She said something that really got me to thinking. Her question to me was, How does giving up caffeine or chocolate or TV help the Kingdom? What is that doing to bring people to Jesus and share Him? She got me to thinking. She challenged me to “self-sacrifice” not by giving up something like food, etc.. but by doing acts of kindness. To challenge myself to keep my eyes open and reach out and help others in unexpected and generous ways. Pay for someone’s groceries in line at Dollar General or Walmart or gas at the gas station. Don’t save the money you would have spent on the fast food you want to avoid, but use it to feed another person. Help a neighbor with a house project they are struggling with or yard work they can’t get done on their own. Clean the bathroom at the ballpark after your child’s game. Pick up the trash others throw on the ground at the park. Use your umbrella to shelter someone else in the rain. Hold open a door. Smile and make pleasant conversation with the cashier checking you out. Tip generously, even if the service isn’t great. Offer to watch a young mother’s children so she can run errands alone. Double your supper recipe and share with a neighbor. To throw back to an old song, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.” What if we all committed to reach out and love this Lent season. Love the unknown or those hard for you to love. How could we change the world if we turned off the TV and then went out and showed love. Maybe you need to turn off the TV and show love in your own home. What can we do to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this season of Lent? Food to chew on. -Nannette 

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