Tuesday, April 1, 2014


While practiced very little in this fast food culture, the spiritual discipline of fasting can be a life changer.  What starts out as a decision to discontinue eating for a specific period of time brings us to some startling observations.  As we do without our normal culinary fare,  we quickly come to the realization of how much we have.  And alongside of this insight comes the one which causes us to realize how little we need.  If we are listening to our heart and the Spirit we may hear some inner conversation which goes like this:  "I have so much more than I really need.  What am I to do with this "more than I need" part of my life?  After the fast is over, what will I do with it?  Will my worship of consumerism keep me greedy?  Or, will my compassion make me more giving?"
The real pain of fasting is not the stomach rebelling at the lack of the usual onslaught of food, but the heart rebelling at the lessons being learned.  When we fast, the spiritual lessons have a way of spilling over the edge of the plate.  It is not just the food.  It is everything about life.  To look at any area of our life is to see that we have more than we really need.  It calls into question our giving pattern and it helps us to see how far we are from putting every part of our life at God's disposal.  The old traditional term, "surrender" may sound good in church, but most of us live a long way from surrendering ourselves completely to God.

The woman who threw the few copper coins into the trumpet like offering receptacle received the praise of Jesus because she was giving all.  Those who were giving alongside of her actually were giving more, but they were giving out of their surplus.  She was giving out of what she needed for tomorrow.  They were giving out of what they had leftover after all their wants and needs had been cared for in that day.  To fast is to see the difference.  But, after the fast we are still left with the choice to allow the lessons learned to impact our lifestyle.

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