We are about a week into this Lenten season. Christina and I are trying to do our best to keep up with our fast, but I have to admit that this year has been hard. One thing that is different this year is that Josiah and Elliot decided to observe Lent with us. On one hand, I am a happy father knowing that my kids at a young age want to participate in Lent (I think they see it as something that is cool to do b/c the whole church is doing it). But then on the other hand, I am like, “What the… aren’t they a little too young to do this kind of stuff… for heaven’s sake, they are just kids!” Honestly speaking, I did not want them to participate.
But God used something that happened yesterday with my boys to teach me the importance of obedience and self-control. I am constantly amazed at how God uses little children to teach big lessons.
My family and I decided to go out to eat and spend some time together. As we were ordering our beverages, Christina ordered 3 lemonades for the kids. When the lemonades came, Josiah said, “Mommy, I can’t drink lemonade.” My thought was “what kid does not like lemonade?” So I asked, “Why can’t you drink it?” Josiah said, “I am lenting from juice.” My response – “What?! Well, lemonade is not really juice, is it Christina?” We both looked at each other and tried really hard to rationalize why lemonade was not really a juice but rather just a drink that had a fruit and some sugar. Truthfully, I was thinking – “hey kid stop being so legalistic.” Then I lifted up a quick prayer under my breath – “Lord please don’t let my son be a Pharisee… out of all things… please, Lord!!” But we ended up getting him some water (it was his choice).
Then after dinner we ran some errands. Elliot and I separated from the rest of the family. I guess the place where Christina, Josiah and Karissa went to gave out some lollipops. When we reunited, Josiah decided to share his lollipop. Josiah kept on telling Elliot to eat the lollipop but for some odd reason Elliot kept on resisting. Once again, I was like “what kid in the world will refuse a lollipop?!” Then Elliot screamed from the top of his voice, “Stop it JoJo, remember… I am fasting from candy!” Part of me was so proud that we might have an evangelist in our home who is not afraid to declare his piety in public, but then another part of me wanted to hide behind the counter and tell the other customers that they were not my children.
As we were driving back home, I was just struck by the obedience and self-control of my boys. I was humbled. I wish I had the same purity of heart. Oh, how I vacillate from day to day in my obedience to Christ and there is so much more growth I need to experience in the area of self-control.
Maybe it is not supposed to be so complicated… Lord help me to keep it simple and make it all about you. More of you and less of me!