Do not blow a trumpet before you

Let’s say you were an avid jogger.   Every morning, rain or shine, you were out on the road, getting your three miles in.   How often do you think you would tell your coworkers or neighbors that you ran that morning?   Probably not very often.   It’s just something you do because you know how good it is to establish a healthy exercise routine.

It’s this kind of attitude that Jesus is asking us to have when it comes to the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.   They should be so much a part of our everyday routine that we would see no reason to boast about doing them.

Of course, we know how challenging it can be to keep to these practices.   Life tends to get in the way.   But isn’t that the whole purpose of Lent?   To step back from the busyness of life a bit so that we can grow closer to God?

These next forty days (actually thirty-seven days) offer us a wonderful opportunity to enter into the blessings of a routine.   If we can commit to praying every day this Lent, we’ll be well on our way to forming a permanent habit of spending time with God and letting his word change our hearts.   If we can commit the next six weeks to fasting — from some food or activity or attitude that has too tight a grip on us — we stand the chance of becoming less attached to this world and more attached to Christ.   If we can commit to giving some of our time and money to helping the poor on a regular basis, generosity and compassion will begin to flow from us more naturally.

Jesus is inviting you to “return to the Lord, your God” this Lent (Joel 2:13).   Every journey begins with the smallest, most ordinary of steps.   So get into the daily habit of turning to him through these three ordinary spiritual practices.   Then watch to see whether something extraordinary comes of them.

Word Among Us