We spent some time this Sunday discussing Ash Wednesday in church and a new realization occurred to me (well our pastor pretty much hit me up beside the head with it). Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent) is about a lot more than just sacrificing something you enjoy doing, eating, drinking, etc. You see growing up that was all that it was about for me. I gave up soda one year for instance and you know it was a real struggle for me but I felt like I really accomplished something. Through the years I have given up other things but always thinking that Lent was bout sacrificing like what God did for us when he sent his son to die on the cross. I never really fully appreciated what the season was about. You see, it is about sacrifice but it’s also about sacrificing something so that you spend more time with God. That’s something that I totally missed for all of these years.
Here’s a cool video by the skit guys on fasting (which is mostly related):
We know that as Christians we aren’t supposed to make a big display out of fasting or during lent whatever we are giving up. It says in Matthew 6:16-18:
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
So it seems from this passage that regardless of whether it is for Lent or just a general fast, we aren’t supposed to make a big deal out of it telling everyone what we are up to like it’s the latest diet craze. This is about inward reflection as is Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent. This year I’m not planning on giving up something for the sake of giving it up. Instead I am going to try to be more purposeful about setting aside time to reflect on how to make God and Jesus more a part of my daily life. I’m not sure what that actually means or how I will determine my success or failure but then again that’s also not the point. It’s about doing the best we can to be better Christians in spite of the craziness going on around us (much of which we create ourselves).