The Three Gives - Lent and Life beyond it...
Today I have a guest post from Ryan Guerra who is Worship Pastor at our Church (Water's Edge Bible Church in West Chicago). I wanted to write some thoughts on Lent, but after reading his I decided not to! Thanks Ryan, for sharing with us!
The Three Gives
Let’s do Lent better. Let’s redeem it more fully. Let’s consider it Biblically. Instead of Lent being a time of simply “giving up,” make Lent a time to “give of” and “give over.” (Isaiah 58) Make it a lifestyle. I write this primarily as a reminder to myself; someone who does not practice Lent religiously, but loves the potential spring board of Lent to encourage us toward a life that is increasingly committed to God and His Kingdom.
Whether during Lent or any other day, if we “give up” without resolve to also “give of” and “give over” then we are only partially fulfilling the call to be imitators of Christ. (Phillipians 3:10, Ephesians 5.1-2) Christ became a man when He humbly GAVE UP what was rightfully His in order to place Himself on earth to GIVE OF Himself to us. (Phillipians 2) He also gave up those rights in obedience to God the Father as he GAVE OVER His will to the will of The Father. (Luke 22.42) Giving up, giving of and giving over is displayed most gloriously at the cross. Christ lived out the three “gives” with a definite purpose for men to be blessed by redemption and reconciliation and for His Father in Heaven to be glorified.
As we enter into Lent season how do we live out each of the Three Gives instead of defaulting to what Lent is best known for - simply giving something up?
Practice all Three Gives! When we give something up we are left with resources we otherwise would have invested in that habit, indulgence or luxury. That coffee money. That hour each day spent on Facebook. Insert your habit/favorite indulgence here. If we give something up, but don’t GIVE OF and GIVE OVER to God’s will the leftover resources, then Lent can become a time of hoarding and perhaps well intentioned, but mostly self centered introspection. It should be so much more than that! How could that money or time impact the life of someone God calls you to bless it with? It brings far more joy to us and honors God when every day of our lives is a pursuit to “give up, give of and give over” our lives and resources to God.
Be prayerful and aware of God’s leading as you consider the Three Gives, during Lent or otherwise. Perhaps Lent is most importantly an annual reminder to daily petition God in prayer, “God, what are you calling me to give up, give of and give over today?” Then imitate Christ and follow.