This passage in Isaiah 58 just won't go away! Ah. I read it and I think: I'm a nice person, naturally kind and caring. My husband and I have been consistent tithers for a while now. Our family serves once a month at Shoreline East feeding the homeless. We give financially to support several ministries. We volunteer hours each week serving our church family. Believe me, I'm not listing all that stuff to impress anyone. I'm thinking of all the things that we do and I wonder if it really qualifies as loosing the chains of injustice(v.6)? Usually, it just feels so ordinary.
I can get overwhelmed at times with the darkness in this world. People who think violence is the way to get their point across. Child abuse. Corrupt governments. Human trafficking. I wonder am I truly spending myself on behalf of others (v10)? Should I feel spent all the time?
In retrospect, when we first started serving at Shoreline East, it did NOT feel normal. It was challenging for my suburban self. Sometimes we feel like we don't have any money to spare but we give anyway and God honors our trust in him. We've learned to pray, work hard, and forgive. All that tells me we've grown and I can't help but wonder what's around this corner? What new adventure awaits? The discontent I feel when I read this chapter in Isaiah seems to indicate to me that there must be more. I have a few ideas of what that might be next and honestly, I know it will not be easy. I'm not all that fond of change or the pain that so often accompanies growth.
I think the most important thing Jesus is asking is that we so keep growing, keep giving...keep moving forward. Small things, incremental changes really do add up and make a difference in our world. It's funny how the things that originally challenge us can eventually become such a regular part of who we are. We do have an amazing capacity for growth! And I'm committed to it! I want to live in verse 11 - The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
If you are interested in learning more and actively participating in Lent this year visit this website of daily Lenten Prayers and Scripture Readings