“If you do the bare minimum, expect bare minimum results. You want to be great, work to be great. Nothing just happens.” ~ J. J. Watt
Lent begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. I was speaking with someone over the weekend regarding the Lenten regulations of fasting and abstinence. I was asked a question about “having” to fast. “At our age, we don’t have to fast any more, right?” My response was that was the correct answer but the wrong attitude.
Just because we are of a certain age and exempt from the requirement to fast doesn’t mean that we are exempt from the invitation to fast. To fast when we have to is one thing. To fast when we are not required to is quite another. One is merely meeting an obligation. The other is showing the Lord just how much we wish to enter into the spirit of Lent.
The same can be said with abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. If we love seafood and treat ourselves to a lavish seafood banquet on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent we may have complied with the law of abstinence but not with the spirit of abstinence. Abstinence, after all, should require sacrifice on our part. If we love seafood, perhaps we can opt for some other meal that is not quite as desirable. That helps us enter the spirit of the season that much more.
Watt reminds us that doing the bare minimum garners the bare minimum. If we really want to plumb the depths of Lent, we should be willing not only to embrace the law of the season but the spirit of the season as well. Let our giving be a sacrifice. Let our fast and abstinence chasten our bodies. Let our penance be recognized by God as true humility and not as fulfilling a requirement.
God should never be a requirement. God should always be a burning desire. Let that thought guide your heart as you prepare to enter the holy season of Lent. Plan today so that you are ready for tomorrow.
FAITH ACTION: Don’t do the bare minimum today. Instead, strive to excel in all that you do.