This week we have been challenged to exercise our spiritual selves through one of the spiritual disciplines, making a purposeful sacrifice. We have been called to take the money we would normally spend on frivolous things, things we don’t need but often want, and give that money to someone else, someone in need.
This challenge reminds me of another spiritual discipline, fasting, as described by Isaiah.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6-7
Just as God through Isaiah declared to the people about fasting, the spiritual disciplines are not about us, although we are greatly benefited by them, it is about doing the work God has set out for us.
This week our challenge is an easy one, if we will but submit ourselves to God and quit thinking about ourselves but think about serving others. The challenge was for us to take what we would normally spend on stuff we really don’t need and give it to others. That isn’t a burden, in a way, it is barely a sacrifice. Yet how many of us will really do it?
There are so many ways we can help others. There are several local groups that could really use our help but what about those around us, our neighbors, our friends or family? We are called to be an influence to our neighborhood. By seeking out and helping those right next door, we see as Isaiah said, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn… you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”