Lent begins Wednesday. As we’ve discussed before, the Lutheran Church now encourages us to see Lent as a time not to give up something that reminds you of your sin, but to take on tasks that remind you of your redemption. As our Year of Change stewardship program begins, we are in an excellent position to use the discipline of Lent to prayerfully consider these weeks as a time simply to give – of our time and our talents, as well as our treasures.

In the coming weeks, we’ll look at the ways in which we can give to our congregation, our community, and our world during Lent. But as a starting point, to paraphrase Francis Schaeffer, “How should we then give?”

Lent is traditionally considered a time of serious, even dark, contemplation. This encourages inward thinking. But when we remember why Jesus endured His forty days of suffering and temptation, we can see Lent as a season of amazing sacrificial love, a foreshadowing of His ultimate gift of love on the cross. This encourages outward thinking and action.

So if we’re going to model our Lenten behavior after His, let us dig deep. Let us give with the certainty that comes from offering something not because we think we won’t miss it, but because we know that the recipient shouldn’t live without it. Let us give with the purpose that comes from having our priorities in order and the desire to share that purpose. Let us give with love.

However you choose to honor Lent this year, may the Holy Spirit move you to do so with love. May you find that you love giving to others and to the Lord. And may that love propel you to wonderful discoveries about your relationship with others and with the Lord throughout this amazing season.

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”

2 Peter 3:10-12