Perhaps you’ve grown up practising Lent, or maybe this is your first time even hearing about this 40-day (not counting Sundays) period leading up to Easter.
Whichever camp you fall in, Lent is simply a season of focusing on what Jesus did for us on the cross and an opportunity to go deeper with God. Typically marked by three things—prayer, fasting and giving, the idea is for us to acknowledge how much we truly need Jesus and to use this set apart time during Lent to draw closer to God.
Prayer and fasting seem to be more internal calibrations—spiritual practices to intentionally shift our gaze back to God. They call us to repurpose our time or give up something that might hamper our relationship with Christ to realign ourselves to what truly matters.
Lent is often described as a time of preparation and an opportunity to go deeper with God. It’s a time for personal reflection that prepares people’s hearts and minds for Good Friday and Easter...Find out more
However, giving or charity, is then the complementary call-to-action for us to respond through our behaviour. As James said, so also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:17). This is not to say that giving is a task to be checked off, but rather, done from an outflowing of our realigned hearts as we understand how much has been given and done for us.
Here are three thinking points to consider around Lent and giving:
1) Giving is love in action
As believers, we are called to love—that is how we are to be set apart as followers of Christ*. In a time that prioritises self-interest and self-preservation, each time we choose to give of ourselves—whether it be time, attention, money, or energy, can seem like an extraordinary act of love.
This was demonstrated in the ultimate example of giving—"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son…” (John 3:16a). Giving Jesus up was the Father’s direct expression of love for us. In our lives, who or what have we been called to love? Have we shown this love through our actions—what or who do we need to make time for? Is there a cause or community that’s been on your heart that you can give attention to?
*By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:35
2) Our attitude towards giving reflects our understanding of God’s generosity
If there is anything that reveals what we truly think about how our Heavenly Father cares for us, it is our mindset towards giving. You can only love as much as you think you have been loved, and only give as much as you think you have been given. Not just for material or monetary things, it can be overwhelming to think of giving anything if you see yourself in a position of ‘not enough’.
How much we are willing to give—whether they are tangible like finances or time, or intangible like forgiveness and compassion; is dependent on how much we trust that our heavenly Father is truly our provider.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Do we understand our identity as a daughter or son of God and the truth of how much He loves us? Do we know how much we have been forgiven and can extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us?
Are we able to take Jesus at His word when He says not to worry about these things for our heavenly Father knows that we need them (Matt 6:25-34)? As we have so freely received, we are also to give freely**—how is God stirring you to give today? Maybe He is challenging you to give mercy or forgiveness to someone; perhaps it is giving of your skills to serve in church—take that step of faith and say yes to Him today.
**Freely you have received; freely give. – Matthew 10:8b
3) Giving comes at a cost, but is it worth it?
The truth is—it is only worth it when we decide that what we are giving towards is more important that what we are giving up. But the decision lies with us—what have we decided is important to us, what takes priority in our lives?
The widow who gave her last two coins (Mark 12:41-44) comes to mind (and it wasn’t just giving the last of her physical money and using PayNow after!). This was it, the last of everything she had with no way to get groceries, household necessities, pay bills after…Yet she decided that giving to God’s house far outweighed all these needs.
This best demonstrates Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:21, ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’. Her treasure was not in material possessions or money, but in the house of God. We similarly see this example in Christ, where He paid the biggest price on the cross for His treasure—humanity, every single one of us.
Where is our treasure found? Let us be brave enough to take a good look at where we are giving our time and resources to. How can we be givers of grace & mercy, just like He gave His life for us? Perhaps it’s time for a readjustment this Lent season, perhaps it is time to redefine what the treasure in our lives truly is.
Deborah is passionate about capturing different perspectives to create relevant and impactful content. She enjoys meaningful conversations and collecting experiences, but also loves time spent just with a good book and cup of coffee.
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