Steve Campbell asks us to follow God's Will through the many choices that we will make.
First and foremost, I recognize the indescribable privilege of being a child of God. “For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we really are God’s children” (Romans 8:16, TLB).
Second, I was born into a family of relative wealth, globally speaking, affording me many tangible advantages that so many of my sisters and brothers around the world have not, and may never possess.
Third, I was raised in a household that placed a high value on having faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Very privileged, indeed.
I have done nothing to deserve these advantages. It is pretty clear to me, though, what I am called to do with the gifts and talents God has bestowed on me. That direction is summarized so well by the prophet Micah: “He has told you what he wants, and this is all it is: to be fair, just, merciful, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, TLB).
How much penance could I possibly endure for all the times I took for granted my place of privilege, all the advantages I have been given and my choices that have led me astray from God’s path? I shudder to think about what might be required if penance alone were the answer.
So, as I consider my path during this time of solemn observance — as many of us do during Lent — I can only be joyful. This joy emanates from my understanding of grace. The message of Easter and the incomprehensible choice Jesus Christ made is certainly humbling — and at the same time a source of great joy!
What, now, shall I do with this joy? How can I “square it” with the period of solemnity that Lent brings, with my place of privilege and advantage and with my opportunity to make new choices today? I think Mordecai gave me a clue when he encouraged Esther: “Who can say but that God has brought you into the palace for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, TLB).
Heavenly Father, I come to You today on my knees and with hands raised and spread wide! Your Son has taught us how to live in solemn observance of Your love for us as Your children and to embrace the joy of Your grace, Your gifts and Your promise of eternal life. Give me the courage to follow Your will today, especially in the myriad small choices that become my path to You. Amen.
1. How do you define “solemn observance”?
2. What do you perceive as your privilege or advantage?
3. How do you balance the notion of penance with the great joy of Easter?
4. Are we called to suffer?
5. Have you ever made a seemingly small choice that, in retrospect, changed your path significantly?
By Steve Campbell, director of operational partnerships for Habitat for Humanity International's Global Programs
Download the daily Lent Reflections in full here.