Giving Up

There is a saying, common among those who are trying to lose weight: “I’d give up chocolate, but I’m no quitter.” I think it was Jools Holland who when introducing guests onto his show invited the audience to put your hands together and give it up for…

The first of March this year is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a season which calls to mind the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. In recognition of this many people give up something for Lent and some even undertake extensive fasting. I keep telling myself that I’m going to give up work for Lent, sooner or later I will although it will be totally unrelated to the season on the calendar. What, if anything, are you going to give up, or cut back on? Why do I ask? So that you will ask yourself the question. What you give up doesn’t matter to me, but it will to you. If you give up something that you think, or know, hinders your relationship with God, or your brothers and sisters, you will be better for it. Some give up on things they enjoy, like chocolate or alcohol. Some avoid visiting places like theatres, cinemas, clubs and these days one could add websites; not because there is anything inherently wrong with these places because while some films are life affirming and uplifting others make you feel that there is two hours of your life that you will not get back.

What are you going to do with the “extra” time that you will have? You don’t have to do anything with it. Who you are is far more important than what you do. When Moses asked God who shall I say has sent me he received the reply, ‘[tell them,] “I am has sent me to you.”’ I am important, because “I AM” has chosen me as His friend. I am important, because of who I am and not because of what I do. I do not need to do anything unless it is from the overflow of my heart and the love I have for God and his people, as James reminds us “faith without deeds is dead.”

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