St Mark’s Lenten Thoughts: Thursday in the Fourth Week of Lent

A nun of the Missionaries of Charity order, which was founded by Mother Teresa, feeds a mentally retarded inmate at a mission home in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta December 4, 1996. REUTERS/Kamal Kishore PP03090051 jm – RTRYPH

Lent Week Four—Thursday

Psalm 73 Jeremiah 22:13-23 Romans 8:12-27 John 6:41-51

Psalm 73 was penned by Asaph, a singer in King David’s court, whose descendants formed the guild of temple musicians. I have spent most of my life surrounded by singers and other musicians, and one thing I’ve learned is that most folks in that field are “of modest means.” Apparently, that was also the case in biblical times, as evidenced by Asaph’s struggle with feelings of envy.

He saw the wealthy as being without troubles – healthy, strong, and free from burdens. Asaph was grieved and bitter, feeling that his efforts to live a good, pure life were not worthwhile. He faced daily afflictions and troubles, and nearly “lost his foothold.” How easy it would be to fall in with the powerful, even those who speak and act with violence.

When Asaph was ultimately drawn back to God, he realized how misguided his thinking had been. Surely, God will deal with those who are corrupt and evil. Asaph’s faith was restored, and he again trusted God’s guidance. While many of us can certainly relate to Asaph’s battle with envy, I am reminded of my grandmother’s insistence that “no matter how difficult our circumstances, there are countless people who are worse off.” Her goal was, of course, to bring us to a point of gratitude.

But let’s look at things a different way: “Are others envious of me…of what I have? Am I perceived to be without struggles?” Take an honest look at the way we use our gifts. We must all strive to embody God’s kindness and love in our dealings with everyone, sharing our life’s stories – both the uplifting and the challenging – and always using our gifts for good. Perhaps this season of Lent gives us an opportunity to truly examine ways we can be of help. At the end of the day, the Lord will repay with each of us according to our deeds.

-Lory Tubbs

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