Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” Mark 12:42
In the beginning of the week, I asked my kids to start thinking about Lent. I explained that not only do we give up something in order to share in Jesus’ sacrifice, but it’s also important to add something to our forty days that will bring us closer to God.
I too have been doing my own thinking. Having already given up sugar in January, I felt I had the “giving up” base covered. So I turned my focus to what I could add to my Lent to bring me closer to God.
On Ash Wednesday I asked my kids what they had concluded: what were they giving up, and what were they going to add. I was so humbled and impressed by their responses.
Zack is giving up his after-dinner dessert for every one of the forty days. He is going to add reading his Action Bible for ten minutes each night. Mason is giving up his after-dinner dessert on some of the nights, and some of his screen time on other nights. He is going to add reading the Living Faith magazine for kids every night before bed. Jocelyn is following Mason’s example and is giving up some dessert and some screen time. You’d have to know my kids to realize just how much they will be sacrificing: sugar and screens are their life-blood!
But what really blew me away was when I pulled out the Lenten Toy Box that my kids fill with toys that will be put away until Easter morning. Mason disappeared and came back with his arms bulging with stuffed animals. There wasn’t a single one that he had left behind in the basket. When he told me he was putting every last stuffed animal in the box, my heart melted. Mason sleeps with every one of them, EVERY night! Until recently, he even slept with the biggest one as his pillow, and claimed that he wouldn’t be able to sleep through the night without it. This sacrifice was huge for him! He had already given up dessert and some screen time. Without a doubt, Mason was “putting more into the treasury than all the others.”
It made me ashamed that my offering was so meager in comparison. Yes, giving up sugar absolutely kills me. But I’m giving it up to avoid diabetes, not to share in Jesus’ suffering. It took my eight year old son giving “out of his poverty” to highlight the fact that I was trying to kill two birds with one stone. How lame is that?
So now I have to reassess. I have to look at what really matters to me, and choose one of those things to give up. If Jesus could give up His entire life for me, the least I can do is give out of “my own poverty” for a mere forty days.
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