Tuesday, March 11, 2014

musings about lent


yesterday, i had the pleasure of stopping by to see a dear friend.  one of those "quick" stops.  ya know the kind?  not a whole lot of time to chat but just enough time to hear each other's heart.  and, usually, it's me unloading and my sweet friend listening.  but this time.  this time.  i got to listen. 

and as she shared, i noticed a ring on her finger.  the same ring that i wear on my left finger.  and seeing that ring on her finger took me back to those days, years ago (7+ years), when a rowdy/not so rowdy, motley crew of Jesus followers gathered to seek Him.  to seek His face.  to read through a book called, the vision and the vow.  to ask Him what would it look like for each of us to "love God. love others. and take the Gospel to the nations".

and it has looked different for each one of us that gathered all those years ago.  we have all journeyed through some sort of "hell" and back...maybe even journeying through one right now.  and maybe we've questioned whether or not we really meant it when we took that vow and placed that ring on our finger.  and maybe we've even wondered whether that was the right thing to do.  and maybe we've even taken the ring off our finger because of it's constant reminder of it's meaning, and the words, and the promise.  and the God we love.  and how we've failed.  and the constant reminder of the greek words inscribed on the ring, "none live for themselves".

i share this with you because as i enter into these season of lent and hear talk and read articles about "what are you giving up for lent?" this thought occurred to me this morning after reading 1 Samuel 15:22, "but Samuel replied, 'does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams'."

to obey. is better. than sacrifice.

those words went straight to my heart. 

this verse comes from the story of saul and the LORD commanding saul to wipe out ALL of the amalekites for what they did to the israelites after leaving egypt.  do you know what saul did?  he did wipe out all of the amalekites, everyone except the king.  and he did wipe out all of the livestock, everyone one of them except for the good ones worth keeping for sacrifices.  do you know what saul did not do?  and why samuel was so angry with saul?  saul did not whole-heartedly obey the LORD.  he sorta obeyed Him.

and this is what He whispered to my heart as i finished reading the rest of the chapter, "in what areas are you, my sweet daughter, sorta obeying?"  and then He gently challenged me to obey whole-heartedly. 

lent. to live by "none live for themselves".  to live out the Shema.  to be a disciple of Jesus.  all of these things require one thing, first...obedience.

because what would lent look like or easter look like if Jesus did not obey?  or only half-heartedly obeyed? 

i am forever grateful that Jesus whole-heartedly obeyed.  because when i mess up and find myself or my life turned upside-down, i can always go to the truth that the Son of the Living God obeyed the call to come to this earth, live a life worth following, to give up his life - obediently- even to the point of death, all because of his love for Father and Father's love for me.  and you.  and all of us.

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