Hurry up and fast...
Kelsey and I have been fasting fairly intentionally for the past two years. No, not two years of fasting....just that in that time we've set apart seasons for it. Lately I've been reading about the marriage between fasting and action; how the two, hand in hand, can wreak serious mahem on the kingdom of darkness. This morning I read Isaiah 58...a good one to read while fasting, particularly if you're feeling a little pious about it. Verse five says: Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? He goes on to write about a different kind of fast - an active fast that makes changes in the spirit and in the natural. Check it out:
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 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. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."
I'm wondering what it really means to spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry. We're big on investment. We would say it's a stewardship issue, but I suspect it's more that we want a high rate of return, even on our outreach. To spend oneself is a very different thing. Things spent means things purchased. Jesus spent himself: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
What do our spending habits really say about us?