February 15: Give It Up, and Give It to Someone Who Needs It


Lenten Devotion:
Give It Up, and Give It to Someone Who Needs It

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Give It Up, and Give It to Someone Who Needs It 

Isaiah 58:1-12

Are you “fasting” or “giving up” something during Lent this year?  Ever wonder what God thinks about the modern Lenten ritual of “fasting?” In Isaiah 58:1-12, the writer illuminates a discussion between the Judeans and God about fasting.  In an attempt to be nearer to God, the Judeans fast, but God does not respond (vv. 2-3a).  Why? Because while they are fasting, the Judeans continue to serve their own interests and oppress their workers (v. 3b).  God is not impressed with their feigned humility and seemingly ritualistic approach to fasting (v. 5). Instead, God desires a fast that is focused on loosing the bonds of injustice and freeing the oppressed (v. 6). God suggests that the Judeans fast in a way that incorporates both giving up something and giving to those in need.  Verse 7 gives the following examples:
  • share your food with the hungry
  • bring the homeless poor into your house
  • when you see the naked, cover them
  • be available to your own kin
That’s the kind of fast that gets God’s attention.  That’s the kind of fast that results in repairing and restoring communities and making them livable again (v. 12). As I re-read and meditated on and listened to these verses, I kept coming back to verse 7, and my heart was pierced by the pronouns you and yourYou and your make it personal.  It was as if the writer was asking me: When was the last time that you fasted and shared your time, your talent, and your resources with someone in your family, neighborhood, or community who is in need?  I hope and pray that I am both willing and available — the next time.  Amen. Rev. DeAnna Christmas, BCC SFTS MDiv 2015