lent1Do you celebrate Lent? Lent is the season of preparation leading up to Easter.  It begins on Ash Wednesday, which is today, and ends on Easter. Traditionally, lent is a time of prayer, sacrifice, fasting, and good works.

People tend to focus on what they sacrifice during lent. Many times, they begrudgingly do without the item(s) they’ve chosen to sacrifice.  The Lord tells us to be joyful always, even in our giving [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18]. Have you ever received something from someone and you knew they didn’t really want to give it to you? It’s awkward and uncomfortable.  There’s no more excitement in receiving the gift that giving it. God deserves so much better from us.

King David understood sacrifice.  In 2 Samuel 24:18-24 the prophet instructed the king to build an altar to the Lord on a threshing floor owned by Araunah the Jebusite. King David approached him to buy it, but Araunah said the king could have it and anything else he needed.  The king insisted on paying for it.  In verse 24 he said,

No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

He understood there must be a cost involved with what you set apart or give to the Lord and he did so with great pleasure. How much better to receive a gift from someone who is as excited to give it to you as you are to receive it.

This Lenten season, I want to encourage you to take what you’re sacrificing and use it to bless others. If you choose to give up Starbucks for lent, then why not give the money you saved to an organization fighting sex trafficking, such as Out of Darkness or Wellspring Living. If you’re giving up Facebook or television, why not donate the time saved to write notes of encouragement to others, make some freezable meals for single moms, or invest in a child.  By doing something like this, you are not only blessing the Lord in your sacrifice, but you’re blessing others.

What will you sacrifice for the Lord during lent this year? How will you use it to bless others?