Pastor’s Corner – March 2022
My Dear Ones,
As we approach the season of Lent I am considering, as has been my practice, what I am going to “give up” for my Lenten fast. I have shared with many of you how a fast works. However, I don’t encourage you to fast, unless you are truly committed to this discipline as a spiritual journey. For example, if you go into a “food fast,” giving up red meat, with the hope that when Lent is over you will have lost a few pounds, what spiritual value is that?
Self-Denial is about making a sacrifice that makes a difference, focusing on the Cross and reminding ourselves what Christ gave up for us. Rev. Craig Gates of Jackson Mississippi has a great list of suggestions. He says we should:
GIVE UP grumbling! Instead, “In everything give thanks.” Constructive criticism is OK, but “moaning, groaning, and complaining” are not Christian disciplines.
GIVE UP 10 to 15 minutes of bedtime! Instead, use that time in prayer, Bible study and personal devotion. A few minutes in prayer WILL keep you focused.
GIVE UP looking at other people’s worst attributes. Instead concentrate on their best points. We all have faults. It is a lot easier to have people overlook our shortcomings when we overlook theirs first.
GIVE UP speaking unkindly. Instead, let your speech be generous and understanding. It costs so little to say something kind and uplifting or to offer a smile. Why not check that sharp tongue at the door?
GIVE UP your hatred of anyone or anything! Instead, learn the discipline of love. “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
GIVE UP your worries and anxieties! They’re too heavy for you to carry anyway. Instead, trust God with them. Anxiety is spending emotional energy on something we can do nothing about: like tomorrow! Live today and let God’s grace be sufficient.
GIVE UP TV one evening a week! Instead, visit someone who’s lonely or sick. There are those who are isolated by illness or age. Why isolate yourself in front of the “tube?” Give someone a precious gift: your time!
GIVE UP buying anything but essentials for yourself! Instead, give the money to God. The money you would spend on the luxuries could help someone meet basic needs. We’re called to be stewards of God’s riches, not consumers.
GIVE UP judging others by appearances and by the standard of the world! Instead, learn to give up yourself to God. There is only one who has the right to judge, Jesus Christ.
This type of Lenten discipline brings us to humility before the cross. It can make us appreciate God’s sacrifice for us. This Lenten discipline promises to bring close to God! This type of Lenten discipline leads us to Easter joy, like we have never before experienced!
As always, I invite your comments. Blessings on your Lenten journey!