Sacrifice or Service?

Last night I went to church and got the imposition of ashes on my forehead.  For some reason this is one worship service that I just will not miss every year if possible.   Last night’s service was presented to us by our confirmation class and while at times it may have been difficult to hear the nervous teens read their lines the emphasis was the same as every year—focus on the period before Easter by fasting, repentance, spiritual discipline and moderation.

I have a couple of on line devotionals that I am going to be doing during Lent this year.   I usually start out really well in this direction but as the time goes on I seem to get re-directed and miss some days.  I am going to really try to be more disciplined this year and hopefully the daily emails will be great jumping  off points for my own spiritual discipline.

Today my email from World Vision tells me to list my luxuries in one of the following areas:

•    Money
•    Health
•    Disease
•    Faith
•    Freedom
•    Education.

And to not just stop with 5 or so but to actually list 20-40 things that are luxuries and keep them in a visible place during Lent.   The devotional further challenges me to list on the back of that page areas where I am being challenged to be uncomfortable…that one may take some prayer time, I think.

Many years I have “given” something up.   I have given up sweet tea, chocolate, desserts, and snacks to name a few.  Several years I have given up meals and fasted and given that money saved to some organization.  In recent years I have been more on the service bent and have used my gift of service to actually “do” something for others by being really intentional and looking for opportunities to serve.

I still have not really decided what I am going to “do” for Lent this year but I know that I will grow as a result of whatever I choose to do.  I would love to hear what other Christians are doing or not doing this year during Lent so please leave me a comment and let me know what your plans are.  I may need my readers to hold me accountable so that is kind of the reason for this post too.  Once it is written and out there I have to do it, right?  Please let me know your thoughts and if Lent is an important time to you or if you focus on something particular!!!  Will look forward to all the comments!

Lent 2011: A Franciscan Blessing from World Vision ACT:S on Vimeo.


  1. Forgive me for my ignorance ( I had to look up what imposition of ashes meant ).
    I will not be doing anything for Lent but I do have many friends who spend long hours thinking of things to ‘do’ for Lent ( last year one gave up the internet for 40 days.. I missed her! ).
    What ever you decide to ‘do’ I am sure will be well worth doing.

    • Oh sorry!!! Just putting some smudges on the forehead!! Fancy schmancy words, huh??? I do not know if “I” could do what your friend did!! Wow!!! That would be a real sacrifice for me and since I am 2 days in I don’t think that is my option! Thanks for the encouragement!!! Have an awesome day!

  2. ordinarybutinteresting says:

    Very thought-provoking post, especially the luxury list. Not as much the idea as the quantity!

    Though I know seeing the list in black and white is meant to draw me back to what is truly important, and necessary, for a happy existence, I’m very fearful that I’m not going to like what I see. The realization of my excesses will be too evident, even if I’m the only one who sees the list.

    So, I propose a compromise….10 items and 24/7/365 instead of 20 for 40.

    What do you think?

    • I think you are right—I do not like what I see, either!! I like your alternative suggestion! I have been so blessed and I really do try to recognize those blessings and also pass those along whenever I can but there is always room for improvement! Thanks for the thoughts and comments!

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