Let Not Your Lenten Deeds Be Their Own Reward

24 Mar

“It is better not to fast, and be thereby humbled, than to fast and be self-satisfied therewith.”  ~  Blaise Pascal

When I saw this quote from Pascal, my mind immediately went back to the admonition of Ash Wednesday given to us in the Gospel of Matthew:  “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.  They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”  The season of Lent is about God and our relationship with Him.  It is not about ourselves.

I will keep this safe by saying that “we all know those” who do things for everybody to see.  They will not help anyone or do any good work unless they have an audience or get some kind of reward.  The thought of doing something good simply because it is the right thing to do doesn’t cross their minds.  What crosses their minds is simply the mantra, “What’s in it for me?”

If that is what our Lent is all about, we may as well give up and not comply with any of the regulations.  If we are fasting merely because we have to, we will let other people know that is what we are doing so we can, at least, get some acknowledgement for it.  That’s not what the season is supposed to be about.  Our Lenten practices are supposed to put us on a different level than our day-to-day lives so that we can work on becoming closer to our loving Savior.

There is a reward in store for us if we live faithfully.  That reward is eternal life with God.  That should be the goal for which we long rather than some temporal reward for, as I have said so many times before, the rewards of this world are of the world and will end with the world.  What is of God remains forever.

Humble yourself today as you do your Lenten works.  Do them for the Lord rather than for any immediate reward.  In doing so, you will show the Lord that He is more important in your life than anything the world can offer you.

FAITH ACTION:  Make sure all that you do today is done for the glory of God and not for your own benefit.