Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How are Chores like Lent?

I hope you are doing well this fine Tuesday afternoon.  So today I wanted share a story about a time a friend and I compared the different household chores we did.  Naturally, we both had the basic laundry, clean your room, and clean the bathroom.  After that, they began to vary.  His were still more tasks such as clean this room and such.  Meanwhile mine had branched out into dig out and build a 3 tiered garden into the sloping back yard.  Another time it was installing a screen door. 

Now before you get the wrong idea…I enjoyed doing these things.  Sometime around middle school, I realized that I liked to make things.  I also liked taking things apart and trying to put them back together.  More often than not I would put it back together but have pieces left over.

In some ways, I would compare this to Lent.

Now, if we look at these chores…there is one very distinct difference between the two.

One thing that I think makes all the difference in the world.

So why did this story remind me of Lent. 

So as many of you may have heard before…Lent is a time of “fasting, repentance, moderation, and spiritual discipline.”

Cool, yea I hear that schpeel every year then I give up drinking sodas for Lent, right?

Well, I compare that to those simple chores.  Those things we all had to do growing up.  Make your bed, clean your room, clean the bathroom, vacuum or dust…

We did them mostly because we were told to and it was expected.  We go about these chores carelessly and half-heartedly without ever fully understanding why we are doing it.  Mostly because we are told to and then we continue to do it as we get older because we were taught to do that when we were younger.

For example, did you know that making your bed can be considered a “life-hack”?  That making your bed each morning  gives you a sense of accomplishment, creates a positive state of mind as you go to bed, lowers your stress, leads to other good habits, and a variety of other things.

Hmm…I didn’t know that.

But when it came to the other chores, I took my time on them.  I researched them.  I did them correctly and was thorough.  I was invested in them because it was something I enjoyed and cared about doing.

Why is Lent not more like that?

With a penitent heart….have you heard that saying before?

Penitent…feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done a wrong; repentant.

We have all made mistakes.  Making mistakes is in our nature.

But Lent is a time that we are supposed to repent.  It is our custom to give things up or take things on.  But I do not think that merely giving up sodas cuts it anymore. 

It isn’t wrong.  It isn’t bad, but it just feels too much like those simple chores.


Especially during this time, as we get closer to the time that Jesus gave his life for us…

Doesn’t he deserve your whole heart?

It doesn’t matter if you feel it is tainted with all the bad things you have done, if you fear it is unwanted or unworthy, it doesn’t matter if it is broken, or lost, or whatever it is that is keeping you from being able to fully open up and lay down that heavy bag that is filled with all your guilt and burdens…

That is what Lent is.  Take all of that stuff, all of that darkness in your life and start packing it up.

Do so carefully.

Do it intentionally.

Do so whole-heartedly.

Holy Week is right around the corner.  We start with the grand entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Jesus washes away the dirt and the wear of the days travels as He washes his disciple’s feet.  He breaks bread with his friends.  Prayers in the garden and is betrayed.  He dies for our sins and on Easter we celebrate the fact that he overcame death…

When you go to the Altar on Easter….take that bag you have packed all your stuff in…

Celebrate and give thanks at the Lord’s Table…

Then as you walk away…leave your bag there and rejoice in the New Covenant that is Jesus Christ.

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