I'm headed up to New York City Saturday with a team of students and leaders, and I sense that it is going to be a significant time. And all the hip-techno types around me (I'm tragically unhip) tell me I must chronicle this trip with pictures and timely words. So back to my neglected blog.
And something else... a FAST. Yikes. Technically, I'm not supposed to tell you I'm doing that, because Jesus warns religious people like me not to announce their religious activities to others in order to appear more spiritual on the outside than they are on the inside. But the whole reason I'm sharing this is because I DON'T feel particularly spiritual inside right now.
Mostly that's because I'm looking at a stack of PANCAKES Free pancakes Free IHOP Pancakes
It's my wife's fault... (ha bet that one doesn't work) because she sent me with the boys to take advantage of National Pancake Day So there I sit, with tummy rumbling louder than Pooh bear, and a free stack of fluffy hotcakes in front of me. (my Scotch-Irish heritage would not allow me to skip ordering a free stack to take home for the rest of my family). And I begin to say to myself, "Its for a good cause, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society would love for me to eat these pancakes."
"Not so fast," I said to my rationalizing self, "you're on a fast!" All I could smell was batter and syrup. My head was beginning to spin. "What is the big deal about giving up food anyway? God knows we need to eat."
And so I reviewed with my self the whole point... fasting sets apart a time and a person for a special purpose; specifically, God's purpose. Like it says in a record of the early Christians, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
Giving up food for a time helps me to focus on the work I have been called to do... in this case, share love and care for homeless and needy individuals in New York City. It reminds me that I am truly dependent on God, though normally I take care of basic needs myself. As my stomach gurgles I determine again to pray, and to set myself apart for God to use. And I vow silently, solemnly, I will celebrate National Pancake Day in my own special way, NEXT WEEK.