Today: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Giving it up for Lent #3 - giving up giving things up!    (2/28/2010 )

In 2003, the Black-Eyed Peas released and song called Where is the Love. The lyrics paint a picture of today’s society and simply ask the question, ‘where is our love for one another?’

I guess, as I listen to the track, I do start thinking about what I do to help others out… Not just the people I should help, like my friends and family, but helping people who may be complete strangers!

Not so long ago, I was in a furniture store which sells a lot of flat-packed furniture. We had just paid for our purchases and waiting in the queue behind us was a guy with a trolley overflowing with boxes and cushions and other random items. It was all very well-balanced, and teetering on top was a mattress.

As we made our way towards the car park I looked behind me, and saw this same guy struggling with his trolley as he made his way to the car park. He had to stop suddenly—and as he did, the mattress started to fall… and along with it, all the items on the trolley.

The poor guy was surrounded by boxes and looked quite embarrassed. As I looked, I saw countless people walk past him and not even offer to help. So my heart went out to him, and I made my way over to offer my help. As we repacked his trolley and placed the last item on it, he smiled and said, ‘Thank you so much!’. I said, ‘No worries,’ and offered to help put all the items into his car. He declined the offer, but something had happened inside of me which felt good!

Jesus talked a fair bit about helping others, and even illustrated it with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke [NT] chapter 10, verses 25-37). And when Jesus was asked which was the greatest of the Commandments, he replied, ‘Love God, and love your neighbour as you love yourself.’

How does all this relate to Lent? Traditionally, Lent is a time where Christians may choose to give something up as a sign of preparing for Easter. However, although I’ve done that for a number of years, and found it to be good and helpful, I think there’s also an opportunity to take something up—which could benefit not just me but those around me, too.

So rather than going on a detox, or giving up chocolate, maybe you and your family can make a difference during Lent by undertaking an act of generosity each day? Why not have a go, and see what the difference could be—and we may even start to answer the question, Where is the Love?

Pray: Lord, help me, during this time of Lent, to think about others as I think about myself. Help me to love other people and to show this in the way I behave around them. Help me to do this daily, either at work or just going about my day. Amen.

Think about: As you go around and meet different people, it can be easy to judge them by the way they look or act. But this week (and possibly longer!) think about how you'd like to be helped if you were that person - and offer to help them. Love your neighbour as you love yourself! If you want more ideas about helping others, try this for some great ideas and handy hints.

Challenge: This coming week, whatever situations or circumstances, see if you are able to help at least one person a day. See the effect it has on them - and also the effect it has on you.

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