Last year I spoke about fasting; but not just fasting in the sense of giving up food; but fasting in the sense of giving up anything that hinders our spiritual growth. Notes from my message last year can be found here.
This year I've been focusing on giving. Giving as a spiritual discipline. Giving not what we are required to, but giving over and beyond what is expected. Giving when there is no expectation of return.
Interestingly, our district church has also decided to focus on giving this year during lent. They've prepared a Lenten Season Invitation, which includes a whole list of suggested "Acts of Kindness".
I'm writing to you today to encourage you; this year instead of giving something up, why not try giving something out. Of course, giving something up is always a good idea too, but I want to especially emphasize the opportunity for personal spiritual growth through thinking of others.
Starting today until Good Friday... can you take up the challenge to do something for someone with no thought or expectation of return? It might be harder than you think.
Is there some way you can give your TIME to someone? Maybe visit someone in the hospital or in a nursing home? Maybe take someone out for coffee? Maybe give someone a ride somewhere? Maybe look after someone's children for an evening?
Is there some way you can give your TALENTS to someone? Maybe help someone take care of a repair that is needed? Maybe prepare a meal for someone and deliver it? Maybe help someone in some other way?
Is there some way you can give your TREASURES to someone? Maybe give away something that you DO need? Or, if you have two of something, give away the BETTER one? Maybe give some cash to someone who is struggling?
I really want to encourage you to participate in lent through GIVING. Jesus said it best, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
And when you give, if you have a special experience you would like to share; our district has a web page set up for people to share your thoughts and experiences during lent.
Thanks so much, for giving me a few moments of your time in reading this. I really encourage you to find a way, each day, to live out God's grace into someone's life.