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Lenten Devotional: March 8, 2023

God is Good, and God is Plenty

by Chad Simonds, Hospitality Coordinator

I have a sweet tooth. Actually, I’m pretty sure all of my teeth are sweet. I often catch myself eating candy I don’t even like. Tootsie Rolls are not good. Chocolate is great, and caramel has its place, but homogenizing the two things into a single cylindrical nugget is apparently a complete disaster. I suspect everyone knows this. And yet they persist – and I persist in mindlessly consuming them whenever available. It gets worse. My favorite candy is Good & Plenty. For those of you born well after 1893, Good & Plenty are pink and white candy-coated pieces of licorice, and the medicinal flavor profile is objectively terrible. There is no reason anyone should enjoy this candy. But alas, I kid you not, I love it. The heart wants what the heart wants.

So, there you have it, I repent. Good & Plenty – and Tootsie Rolls to a lesser degree – have distracted my heart from its rightful place with God. Giving up candy is therefore the obvious sacrifice for Lent. Easy-peasy, right? Of course not, and I’m sure you saw that coming from the first sentence. To be fair, it’s not that easy – candy is kind of a big deal – but more importantly, the obvious sacrifice too often amounts to no sacrifice at all. Does giving up your favorite snack or dessert truly remind you of Jesus’ sacrifice?

There’s hope! Mindless moments like these can be switched out for mindful moments with God. Instead of reaching for Snickers… pause… reflect. “Even now… return to me with all of your heart.” Sometimes sin comes in the form of negligence… mindlessly reaching for easy, ultimately unsatisfying distractions. We know these temptations are real. We also know that Jesus experienced temptations.

Am I suggesting one can replace pie with prayer? Well, yes, because why is more important than what. Trivial “sacrifice” indeed misses the point, but the opposite of that – making the Ultimate Sacrifice – would also miss the mark. It would be impossible for any of us to sacrifice the way Jesus did. Debt paid in full. God so loved the world.

Meditation: Compare apparent sacrifice to actual sacrifice. What distracts you from God? How does it feel to go without this distraction? How can you use this opportunity to be actually present with God?


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