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Third Sunday of Lent – March 24, 2019
“But with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
I once read a time-management related weblog where I encountered an article about the danger of wasting time. The author’s premise was this: the worst kind of time-wasting trap that we can fall into is not goofing off. It is doing fake work. When we are goofing off, we know you are goofing off. However, when we are doing fake work, we are doing things that seem like real work, except for the fact that they aren’t. So, for example, when I should be writing my sermon and I am instead filing papers on my desk, re-shelving my books, and checking e-mail and Facebook, I may be in my office, I may feel like I am working. If you were to peek through my window, I may even look like I am working, but I am not working. What I am doing is using fake work to assuage my conscience because what I am really doing is avoiding what truly needs to be done. I do it all the time. The reason the bushes at my house are pruned is because I do it when I really should be raking the leaves, and so on.
Which brings me to Lent, this wondrous forty-day season of the Christian liturgical year that should, if nothing else, save us from “fake piety.” It is a chance to allow God to change our wrong-headed and self-centered desires, so that our lives will follow our hearts in a more faithful direction. Lent is, in the broadest sense, about the admission that in order for us to embrace the life for which we were created, that we need God. As much as we sometimes hate to admit it, we are in need of God’s guidance, God’s grace, God’s redemption, and God’s forgiveness. In order to be kingdom people, there are things we need to make certain we do, and there are things we need to make certain we avoid. Lent is a time for us to remember this, and to make the necessary adjustments to our hearts and minds, knowing that as Jesus teaches, where our hearts are, there we will find our priorities and our desires.