Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday, 02/10/16


Old Testament: Jonah 3:1 - 4:11
Psalms: Psalms 95, 32, 143
New Testament: Hebrews 12:1-14
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Evening Psalms: Psalms 102, 130


“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:14)

I was in high school back in the middle 60s. I remember how important it seemed to us that we dress in the same kind of clothes. I don’t know who decided for us, but we all thought we had to wear Levi’s, shirts with button down collars, and nothing but Converse sneakers on our feet. We thought what you wore told the world how important you were.

Things really didn’t change as I grew up and moved on with my life. I believed that clothes were still the measure of a man, but less so than what you drove for a car, had for a home, or could claim as your job title. I was blessed with a good wife and family. Strangely, I still felt a need to justify myself through my accomplishments and possessions. I didn’t measure myself in terms of my shortcomings or what I did for others. Looking back, I think it was easier to feed my ego than it was to feed others.

I am now at the point in my life when things have slowed down a little. I have time to reflect and consider what was (and still is) truly important. So much of what I had viewed as important was just dust in the wind. What would my life have been like if I had put less emphasis on gathering stuff and what I wanted other people to think of me and spent more time improving myself as a person and helping others? I always got the most satisfaction when I was helping others, but I was blind to its importance in my life.

Lent is a time of atonement. As this Lenten season begins, my hope is to continue growing as a man in ways that really matter -- in forgiveness, generosity, and service to others.

Lord, I pray for Your forgiveness of my shortcomings and for Your help to grow a servant’s heart within me. May I learn to serve others and to focus on those acts that will make me the person You would have me be. Amen.


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