I grew up in a tradition that observed the season of Lent. Every year as a young person we were encouraged to sacrifice something in order to honor the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross and to help us as believers to focus on the Lord as we prepared for Easter. I believe there are a vast number of ways that Lent is used and observed, but as a young person this is what I understood it to be.
My most memorable “sacrifice” was soda. I remember because I was in the sixth grade and after my 40 days of soda sobriety, I can honestly say I have never consumed a soda since! I developed an aversion to carbonation and sugar and the rest is history. There were other years when I gave up chocolate and I believed I truly suffered for the Lord. I repeated that one several times because it required a lot of discipline and if I’m honest I felt very accomplished when it was all said and done.
Over time my relationship with Lent has changed. My life feels more complicated than soda and chocolate or even social media or TV. I find myself approaching the season of Lent exhausted and weary. Carrying the load of wife, mother, professional, neighbor, teacher, leader, daughter, sister and friend. For weeks, with Lent on the Horizon, I prayed and asked myself, what else could I possibly give to the Lord when I feel like an empty vessel?
The truth, in my time of reflection is, everything! I can give the Lord absolutely everything.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:17).”
There is nothing that I do that is done apart from God. As I scramble to try to find some special thing I can give the Lord I realize that as his perfectly loved creation he simply wants me.
So, I will be offering everything to the Lord this season as I prepare for Easter.
I’m bringing him my worries, my time, my treasures, my family, my future, my finances, my thought life, my temper, my attitude, just my whole self. I will seek that my words and actions however mundane or extraordinary will bring Him glory. We don’t need to add anything to the list, we are the list.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Roman 12:1).”
So, there it is. I will thank the Lord for chocolate this Lent season, everyone else can have soda! I will also lay my life before Him as my best gift, in awe of the perfect gift He as provided you and me through Jesus.