March 06, 2013 - We are well into the season of Lent in the church calendar. During this time it is not unusual for people to give something up as a reminder of what our Savior, Jesus, gave up for us.
St. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 8: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich.
Imagine what He gave up for us!
He had all the riches and glory of heaven, but He gave it up to come into our world. He had all the power of God, yet He submitted to the sinful power of man so He could die on the cross for our sins.
He gave it all up. He entered poverty for us, so we could live in a palace, heaven!
I often wonder how blessed we feel. When people ask me how I am my response is that I am blessed.
Sometimes, however, I don't feel very blessed.
I am tired from a long day or lack of sleep the night before. But I had, at the least, the day and a bed in which I was able to rest.
I had a roof to keep the snow and rain off me, and a furnace that kept my house warm all night long.
I woke up to a hot shower. I checked the news on the television and internet. I had food waiting for me in the kitchen so I would not begin the day hungry.
Then, I begin to think about the people who do not have those opportunities.
They might have to wander down to a mucky river they bathe in and do their laundry and get their drinking water. Food is not plentiful, so they have little to eat.
They might have some shelter against the elements, but electricity is rare and expensive.
They have more important uses for their limited resources. It is a different life than the one we live.
But what do we do? We complain about so many of the things we have (or feel that we need) because they don t work like we want them to or because we don t have them.
Do we really understand how blessed we are? Just look around you. Even those who live in poverty are better off than many in the impoverished nations of the world.
What are we to do? In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable, a story with a teaching point. At the end He tells us that as we do for others, we do for Him, if we fail to do for others, we do not do for Him.
The parable leads us to understand that this was the way of life for the people He addressed.
Look around you. See who is in need. Reach out to them and become rich in the ways of God.
Be blessed and refreshed in the Resurrection.
The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.