Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lent is a time to repent and heed God's call

We are all called to repent and we are called to follow Jesus. When we repent, first we (probably) feel guilt or remorse for our misdeeds, then (ideally) we turn away from the “bad” behavior and move towards more noble pursuits.

I’m reminded of two encounters recorded in the Gospels. In one (Matthew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18), Jesus encounters a “good” man. This man, a successful leader in his community, runs up to Jesus, falls on his knees and says, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus points out that only God is good. Then, he asks the man if he knows the Commandments.

The man responds, “Of course! I know the commandments and I always obey them! I have since I was a child.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. He said, “That’s great! There’s only one thing left for you to do. You must sell everything you own and give the proceeds to the poor. Then, follow me.”

The man’s face fell and he went away sad, because he had many possessions. He turned away from Jesus; he walked away from what he was called to do.

In a separate encounter (Matthew 9, Mark 2, Luke 5), Jesus met a Tax Collector. With the label “Tax Collector” we know he must have been considered a “bad” man. Jesus came by the tax booth (where the man was sitting) and said, “Follow me.”

The man got up, left everything and followed Jesus.

Later Jesus declared, “I have not called the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.” So, if only God is righteous then we can conclude we fall into the category of those called to repentance.

Lent is a time of reflection and repentance. It is a time for considering that which separates us from God and, once identified, turning away from those things and turning toward Him, leaving everything to follow Jesus.

A friend of mine pointed out that my personal struggle with managing time is an opportunity for me. For Lent, she suggested, I should turn away from the clock, from unanswered e-mails, dirty dishes, laundry and other demands in order to spend time in prayerful meditation, devotion and worship. More specifically, I am devoting more intentional time pursuing God's call for me.

Q: What are you doing for Lent?

1 comment:

Brett said...

I'm trying to simplify some. My time is pretty full and I use that as an excuse to drop time with God. Even when I get up early enough and get ready and have some time, I might waste a bit email-checking or screen-sucking. So... for Lent, besides some food type fasts, I'm trying to build into my day the question: 'Is this the next right thing to do?'