Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Friday, February 26
By Rev. Frank M. “Bob” Bostick, April 6, 1979
Preparation Through Giving?
Read: Romans 12:1-2
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
When a friend saw me eating only a salad for lunch, she asked, “It isn’t Lent yet, is it?” “No! It isn’t.” (The date was January 18) “Then why aren’t you eating more?” “Not because I’m not hungry for sure, but because I must lose 7 pounds before March.” Wonder why we associate Lent with less than normal!
During Lent, we prepare ourselves for the celebration of God’s sacrifice of Jesus; we make ready our minds, our practices, our life styles to be more fitting to accept such a gift of salvation. But, “giving-up-something-for-Lent” is really absurd if we live in a state of desire for the day after Easter so we can begin to abuse ourselves again.
Many of our Lenten practices are Pharisaical: We keep the law but allow the intention of the law to be missed. It’s like a child being nice just before Christmas so a lot of goodies will be under the tree or in the stocking, but on the day after Christmas becoming sassy and obstinate once again.
No! A proper preparation for Good Friday and Easter is not in playing games with giving up candy, or alcohol, or bad habits for only a short time – and wishing time would rapidly pass. It is only as we become new persons, striving to serve God on a permanent basis that Easter morning will present its fullest glory. No sham – no games – only true justice, deep and abiding loyalty, and genuine humbleness are the desires of God for His people.
May our mental, spiritual, and behavioral preparation yield new life!
Oh God, help us seriously seek, prepare with perseverance, and thus with the direction of your Spirit awaken to new life. May the resurrection faith be spread abroad in the world of turmoil through the committed efforts of thy people. Amen.