You should see the way I look at a menu. It’s ridiculous. I peruse the whole thing, narrow down my options, then narrow those down again, then go back and forth weighing the remaining options. I think about calories, calculate cost, try to predict how I’ll feel when I’m done, and consider how likely I am to find each dish again anytime soon.
Sheesh, you’d think I was selecting someone to raise my kids.
The truth is, I have a hard time passing up something tasty. Especially when I’m hungry.
This is true not just in front of a menu. It’s true in life. Every day, there are so many “tasty” choices that present themselves to our senses. Being the hungry creatures we are, our senses long to indulge.
And more than not, we live in a culture that exalts indulging our senses. Rather than trying to grow up beyond infantile grasping for anything that looks good to us, our first solutions are usually more about how to have what we want without any negative consequences.
And so we’ve become a people of diet pills and diet desserts, designated drivers, credit lines, masturbation, and contraception.
I mean, why on earth would anyone ever pass up a something to eat when hungry?
The answer, of course, is because there’s another meal coming. A better one. One that satisfies. Really satisfies.
I’m afraid we’ve tried to remove the cost from Christianity, too. We’ve gutted our call to discipleship so the parts that cost us our lives become optional.
I mean, why give up my life if I can serve God adequately with my surplus?
The answer, again, is because there’s another life coming. A better one.
God invites all His children to grow past infantile grasping so we can be ready (hungry!) for the banquet He prepares. His invitation to hunger now is mercy. Or did you think it impossible to make yourself so full now that the fragrance of Heaven would make your stomach sick?
Brothers and sisters, we have been drinking the Kool-Aid of a world that says today is all we have, and all we’ll ever get is what we grab for ourselves here and now.
Lent invites us to hunger from earthly pleasures in anticipation of the aroma of Heaven.
Lent invites us to hunger so we can find hunger is not so much an enemy as we’ve been led to believe.
Lent invites us to give so we can find life apart from the things we’ve been holding tightly in our fists.
Lent invites us to look squarely at Jesus and to ask whether we really believe that He rose again, and so whether we really believe that death won’t be the end for us.
We do not say no for No’s sake. We say no because the great Yes is coming.
“And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?’” (Mark 8:34-36).
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