Posted: June 26, 2007 in Lessons

Yesterday was a fasting day for me. This is not (I hope) one of those “hey look at me I’m fasting” blogs that Jesus referred to on the Sermon on the Mount. Instead, it was simply my homework assignment for my “Forty-Something Class” at church. I’m looking forward to Sunday to hear the experiences – for many, it will be the first time to try it.

I have fasted a few times in the past, but it has been a LONG time. It is anything but a “discipline” for me. More of a rarity.

It is near impossible to read the Bible and miss the importance of fasting. I think there are two kinds: (1) the fasting that comes at key times in life: big decisions to make, scary mountains to climb, dark valleys to descend… and (2) the regular discipline of fasting, as portrayed by the pious Pharisee (“I fast twice a week…”).

I don’t really do either. But I think I should…

Yesterday wasn’t even hard. I ate cereal and toast at 6am before my morning jog (over a week now!!!), and then I didn’t eat the rest of the day. It may have helped that I was very busy yesterday – in fact, I’m positive it helped. But it amazed me nonetheless. On normal days, like Barney Fife, I get a little snippy if I don’t get food during one of my sinking spells. The mind really is a powerful thing.

Which is what fasting battles: the mind. And on a bunch of levels.

The point of the upcoming class this Sunday, from whence this homework assignment came, has to do with learning to be content with what we have. We aren’t so good at that in this country of ours, and the Church seems to be no different. We want more and more and more – everything bigger and better. Jesus didn’t live like that.

One of the world’s favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4: 13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.” We use this, of course, to remind ourselves that we can accomplish all sorts of things. More and more and more. Bigger and better.

But that’s totally out of context.

Instead, this famous verse is offered as a secret Paul learned – and that secret was how to be content. Have a little? No problem. Have a lot? No problem. It really doesn’t matter: either way Paul had learned the secret of being content, and it was that through Jesus he had the strength to deal with anything.

Even being hungry.

Self-denial. There’s something wonderfully liberating in that term.

  1. Rob says:

    Enjoyed the post!

    And yes the cd’s are in my posession. I have recovered them for you, and am glad to report that they are safe and sound (without instrumental sound….obviously). Evidently a curious blue truck, and an unassuming blue bag made off with them.

    I am imposing an acappella fast on you. I will return them summer 2018 (perhaps sooner).

    I have listened to them a bit for vocational research. I’m still undecided.

    Enjoyed your words at Houseflies!!

    I bought Invisible Children, and am sharing it with others.

    I hope all is well with you guys. I enjoyed our time together so much!! Will stay in touch!!
    Your player and teammate,

  2. Al Sturgeon says:

    Thanks, Rob!!!!

    Hey, shoot me an email so I can invite you into the cast of characters at Houseflies. It’ll be a good home for your wonderful wit & wisdom!

    Everything is good with us. We enjoyed you being here more than I could say and still talk about you a LOT. Hope all is well with you…

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