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Mar '11

Don't Give Up-Give More!

As Lent begins tomorrow, I am always reminded of one of my favorite sermons that my Dad gave. It was about the trend that people have to give up something for Lent to help them further appreciate the sacrifice that Jesus gave his life. As my dad tells it, this isn’t at all what Jesus did if you truly look at his life and death. Jesus didn’t really give up anything to die on the cross. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. Instead of giving anything up, he gave more–in fact, he gave it all.

As I think more about it, Jesus’s life here on Earth is not something that he really “gave up.” As I see it,  we should actually give up something during Advent, not Lent. Jesus, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” He gave up his life with God to come down as a human. Now that was giving something up! But, death on the cross–that was giving more–He was the sacrifice but he gave so much more than just giving up his human life. He gave us all eternal life. You can’t give any more than that.

The point my Dad was trying to make is that you should give more at this time of year, not give up something. I have always struggled to see how giving up soda or chocolate for 40 days helps you better understand being beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross to die. It always seemed like just a way to renew your new year’s resolutions that you already failed on. But, if I think of giving more at this time of year, it helps me to better understand the true purpose of this season.

While we should always be striving to give more to God, Lent is a great time to start some good habits. To that end, this year, I have decided to give more to God by pledging a “Time Tithe.” We already tithe our money but that doesn’t really require a lot of sacrifice on our end and really doesn’t force me to do anything more. It’s easy. But a time tithe–this will require more and will be rather hard for me I imagine. My time is more precious to me than my money and so, I am pledging to dedicate 10% of the next 40 days to the Lord’s work. This will include worship, volunteering, church meetings, time studying The Word,  and anything else I can find to spend time doing God’s will.

So 40 days X 24 hours = 960 hours. 960/10%=96 hours. (I know that there are actually 46 days between March 9 and April 23 but I’m going to do my calculation for 40 days to keep things simple). So, between March 9 and April 23, I will be devoting 96 hours to the Lord. It may not sound like much over 40 days but 2.4 hours a day does sound like a lot to me! I’m keeping track of everything on a calendar so I can see how I’m doing. I’ll try to post some updates here on my blog and hope you’ll ask me about it periodically to help keep me on track!

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