Ash Wednesday is upon us…and with that we have Lent…and with THAT we have the "big question" – "What are you giving up for Lent?" I know that there isn’t anything really biblical about that tradition, but it is something that I have done in the recent past. I do it because it reminds me of the great and awesome sacrifice that Jesus made for us…a sacrifice that cost him his life and gave us eternal life. I do know that if I do not give up something God will still love me; that I won’t be censured by the church and that people will not look down on me. If I choose to give up something for Lent, it will be my choice.
Last night my wife and I were talking about this when she started pondering what she was going to give up. Last year she gave up ice cream (something she loves dearly) but she said that was too hard so she won’t do that again. Then she said, "I did think about chocolate, but there are too many things I really enjoy that have chocolate like my morning mochas and ice cream…so maybe I won’t do that." Then I said, "Giving up something for Lent is not suppose to be easy. If it is not a sacrifice for you then what’s the point." That statement pretty much ended our conversation. So I am not sure where we are at with this whole giving up something thing.
How about you? What do you do? Do you give up something for Lent or do you think it is just some silly tradition people hold? I do think there is some value in it if it is done for the right reason. If you are giving snacks thinking that will help you lose weight, then maybe that motivation is not pure. If you are giving up TV because you think you watch too much then maybe that is not good either. Then again, maybe I am completely off base. If so…what is the point of giving something up for Lent? Does Jesus really need it? Do we really need it?
When I think more about this…about really taking this seriously and giving something up that I really, really enjoy I wonder what it would be like to give up…say…coffee. I drink a few cups a coffee a day – some in the morning and then the afternoon. I don’t know…40 days without coffee might drive me insane, but then again, if Jesus gave in to temptation and came down from the cross or avoided it all together, then we would all be damned. Hmmm…
What do you think?