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To Give Up or Provide

One of the perks of having an office inside a church is the convenience of stepping next door for special midweek services. As I attended the noon Ash Wednesday service at St. Luke’s Lutheran, to mark the beginning of Lent, I was struck by a phrase used in a prayer: “Merciful God, accompany our journey through these forty days,…that we may provide for those who are poor.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship.)

My experience with Lent has mostly been negative. Give up something I enjoy for 40 days before Easter. One year I “gave up” my passionate love affair with Mel Gibson. Mel’s later behavior made it no sacrifice at all to give him up permanently. But more seriously many Christians give up a beloved food, chocolate, caffeine, sugar or alcohol for Lent. I once worked with a woman who gave up coffee and cigarettes – by the end of Lent I felt like her co-workers made the biggest sacrifice of all.

But I like this other concept of Lent. Lent is not only about depriving ourselves, it can be also about providing for those who have less than we. Whatever you are considering giving up, I hope you will find time this season to consider which things in life really are important. For us at Loaves & Fishes, providing food for hungry families is our highest priority. How about you?