Lenten Devotional for Tuesday, March 18

By Nathan Timm

Read John 12:23-33

One way my wife and I try to be an example is by giving up items we may like, but not need, to give to others who do need them. Before Christmas we talked with our oldest about children who do not receive Christmas gifts, and then together sorted through toys and books to donate for children in need.

We went through the whole process together, and he even gave his belongings to those at the collection center of the organization. I was surprised how excited our son was to give some of his prized possessions away.

To this almost-three-year-old, his toys are his life, and for us adults our stuff can easily become our life as well. The plasma TV, newest iPhone, and nice cars can all become idols. In this passage Jesus encourages His disciples not to let worldly pleasures to compete with Him.

Instead we follow Him, wherever He leads. At some points in our life Christ leads us through deep valleys and then up steep slopes to the peak of a mountain.

A few weeks ago, our almost-four-year-old asked for one of those toys and we reminded him that we had donated it to other children. He struggled with that for a few minutes, crying over what he had lost. In that moment he wasn’t happy to have helped others. He wanted his toy back.

How many times have I been in that same spot? Wanting the very items that I gave up because they drew me away from Jesus? Thankfully Jesus doesn’t just tell us to hate our life here and move on. No! He tells us that we will receive eternal life, and that God will honor those who serve Him.

We pray: Lord, I pray that I can see those things in my life that are taking the place of You. Allow me to rid myself of these idols and use my blessings to bring glory to You, not just comfort for me. Amen.

Family discussion:

Discuss as a family a few items that are most important to you. For each item talk about how it either brings glory to God, or gets in the way of following Jesus.

Everyday object:

Take some of the objects that you talked about and put them in the middle of the area where you are having the devotional. You can choose what you put in (some objects might be big, like the TV, so move them at your own risk). Notice how they get in the way of each other during the devotional, either physically or just by distracting you. These objects can do the same thing for our relationship with God.