During lent, we give up something. I t might be chocolate, pop, coffee, or something else unhealthy. It might be electronic games, or some other way that we spend our time that we’re addicted to. I personally am planning on giving up Facebook for Lent and only going on once a day. (I would be embarrassed to tell you how often I usually check it a day!) In the time that I normally spend on Facebook, I plan to read the bible and pray.
It’s good to give things up for a time. It shows that we value God over those things. But God doesn’t just call us to give up one thing. He calls us to give up everything.
Most Christians know the story of Abraham and Isaac laid out in Genesis 21-22. If you need a refresher, take a break and read it now. Basically, God promised Abraham that he would have a son and Abraham waited and waited for that son. Abraham desired a son because in that culture, it was the only way to preserve his legacy. If he had a son, all of his possessions would go to the son. If he didn’t, all that he owned would go to a servant. It took 20 years of waiting for Abraham to have a son after God originally promised that he would have one. He was over 100 years old when his son was born! You can be sure that Abraham treasured his son above all else. Abraham’s son was everything to him.
God acknowledges this in Genesis 22:2 when he asks Abraham to “Take your son, your only son, whom you love–Isaac–and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” If I heard that, I would have trouble believing that it was God and would ask for a sign. But Abraham was faithful and did what God said. He made the long journey to and up the mountain in Moriah. Right before he kills Isaac, with his blade up in the air, God tells him to stop and provides a ram for the sacrifice instead. What really stands out is that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, his everything, for God. He honored God above all else and held nothing back from him.
So what do we consider our everything? Is is money, our job, our family? What have we prayed for above all else? And if God asked us to, would we be willing to give it up?
Instead of choosing your own item to give up this lent, prayerfully consider what God might be asking you to give up. It might not be the thing we’re most attached to, but pray about it. You might be surprised by the answer.