That’s a powerful question.

You might say, like St. Paul, that you could last for a while if you knew the end was coming soon. Give up everything self-serving and focus on others. Give up worries about careers and relationships, college loans, college funds, about retirement and investments, five-year plans, ten-year plans. There would be a certain freedom in that. But what if the end wasn’t coming soon? Yours or the world’s? What then? Could you live a whole lifetime in such selfless abandon? Would Paul have chosen his lonely, missionary work, encouraging people not to marry and not to divorce, if he hadn’t believed in the immanent return of Jesus and the immediacy of the need for conversion? Or would he have settled down and married and set about developing a more long-term vision of Christian community life?

The Lenten Season is perhaps an invitation to live with a little more intensity than usual, as if indeed we were going to die with Jesus in six weeks time. What could we push ourselves to do if Jesus were asking it of us for just six weeks? Then perhaps at the end of those six weeks we can re-evaluate and consider how we might integrate something of our efforts into our long-term schedules.

What can I do, you ask?

Offer to read aloud to small children or the visually impaired. Offer to tutor one hour a week in any one of the local public grammar schools in your area, or offer to help someone learn English. Offer to serve food for one lunchtime a week in a shelter near your down-town office. Set up a food collection box in your office and be the one to organise delivery to the local food bank. Food and Education – there is always a need for both.  Always.