6 Mar

It’s not right for one friend to do all the giving and the other to do all the taking, that it not friendship.  ~ Anonymous

The Season of Lent give us a great opportunity, once a year, to look deep within and evaluate our lives.  We look at our deeds and our misdeeds, at our words and our silence, at our devotion and our betrayal.  Lent helps us focus on the things in our lives that need to change.

One of those, for the vast majority of us, is our willingness to give to others.  Giving is not natural for our human nature.  We are not givers.  We are takers.  From the time we are born, we set our sights on things that we want.  Some of the first tantrums that young children have happen when they are told that they have to share.

I sometimes imagine the devil talking with Jesus in the temptations he endured in the desert.  I can hear the devil saying, “Look at them.  Do you really want to give your life for that?!  They’re greedy, selfish people.  They do not care about you.  They do not care about one another.  You’ll never make a difference in their lives.”

Jesus’ response?

He gave.  Completely.

He gave of His time, even when He was exhausted after a long day of healing.  When He saw people queuing up waiting for Him, He went to them and continued to heal.

He gave of His power.  Healing power flowed out of Him all the time.  He cured the sick, restored sight to the blind and speech to the mute, and even raised from the dead.  He did not hoard the power that was His, He gave it freely.

He gave of His love.  Over and over again, before helping someone, the Gospel writer tells us that “He looked upon him with love…”  Jesus loved His people completely and was very generous with His love.

He gave of His nature.  “Though He was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped.  Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave.” (Phil 2:6-7a)

He even gave His life for us.  He was mocked and taunted while on the cross.  Someone even jeered and said, “If you are the Son of God, come down from that cross.”  It took great love for the Son of God to remain on the cross and give up His life so that He could rise from the dead and restore life to us all.

Therein lies the lesson for us this Lent.  God gives.  Completely.  He asks us to do the same.  That is why we give things up during Lent.  That is why we make commitments to do good for others during Lent because that helps us to give of ourselves.

God called us friend.  “It’s not right for one friend to do all the giving and the other to do all the taking, that it not friendship.”

If we are God’s friend, we are called to give as well.

FAITH ACTION:  Give freely, generously, and from the heart today.  Have no expectation for receiving any return.