International (MNN) — For many denominations, March 5 begins a season of Lent. Many people make a promise to give up something or commit to fasting.
What about you?
Founder of OpenBible.info Stephen Smith creates a list of fasting suggestions. The top ten things people choose to give up are chocolate, twitter, school, alcohol, swearing, social networking, soda, sweets, fast food, and junk food. Notice the themes of food, drink, and communication technology.
Thinking about giving up things like food or drink or the use of technology doesn’t seem very significant or painful if the objective is self-denial. Co-director of World Renew, Ida Kaastra Mutoigo, says, “I wonder if that is really what God wants from me, or does He want something far deeper and far more difficult? In reading the book of Proverbs this month, I am struck by the theme, “One thing God wants most.” It is our heart–all of it!”
God’s desire is that His words are so ingrained in our hearts that we make the right choices for a long and faithful life. “It is ultimately recognizing that my heart and your heart are a gift from God which He is asking us not to give up, but to give back to Him where it belongs,” says Mutoigo.
In view of Proverbs 6:17 and the seven things that God finds detestable, Mutoigo says, “Visiting the temples in Angkor Wat in Cambodia recently, I could see how easily we as humans take pride in our architectural handiwork, emperors, and princes. But where are these objects of wood and stone over a thousand years later, and where are their rulers now?”
What does this all mean for the work of World Renew?
Mutoigo encourages us to give our hearts back to God and remember that every resource of food, technology, time, funding, staff, partnership, and community are gifts from the generous hearts of the donors. The use of these gifts requires diligent stewardship as donors help people living in poverty and disaster. World Renew encourages staff and fellow believers to lay aside any arrogance that prevents us from having a “caring, learning culture and posture.”
God is the one who restores the fortunes of people (Psalm 126:4) when livelihoods are supported in Haiti, as homes are rebuilt in the Philippines, as mothers are saved from death during delivery in Bangladesh or Kenya or Malawi, as families gain legal ownership of their land in Tanzania, and as families living with HIV and AIDS learn to flourish once again.
During this time of Lent, will you join World Renew in a heart-focus on this verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14?