There are several good reasons to give something up:
- It reminds me that I have more than I need, or have access to more than I need. Giving up candy for forty days is pointless, unless or until I come to understand that I can get a candy bar any time that I want to, and others cannot.
- Does that mean that I am supposed to give a candy bar to some poor kid? Not at all, but it helps to remind me that the field is not level. I had not, as a boy, earned the right or ability to have candy, and they did not deserve to live in such a way that there was little hope of anything special in their life.
- So what do I learn? I carry with me today the understanding to this day that there is enough for all of us, if we can only learn to share.
Here is the big thing that I learned from my mom: what you give up and and what you give away is between you and the Lord. If there is to be any reward, it will not come from bragging about all that you have done without, or by telling someone else what a grand gift you have given them. Any joy comes from knowing that you have served the Lord in love, by serving your fellow humans.
Dennis Coleman is a long time youth worker and trainer that is currently a deacon-in-training. He exists happily alongside his nine children and twelve (so far) grandchildren.