Fasting: This is something I'd seen/heard about others doing through various groups in college. It was never something I felt called to do, though. Plus, my-mother-in-me had me convinced that it was not a nutritiously smart thing to do. Recently, however, I've been looking for things to challenge and grow me spiritually. A family member mentioned that he'd participated in a 5-day fast and how much it had strengthened his faith and changed his perspective on life (and food) in many ways. So, I started considering it, and mentioned it to a friend. As it turns out, she had been planning on fasting sometime in the near future, but wasn't sure when or how long, or if she'd even have the strength to do it on her own. Me bringing it up was a clear push for her to go ahead and do it, and I believe the fact that she'd been planning on it was my call to participate, as well.
Tithing: Because I'm not actually a member of the church(es) I've been attending in the recent past, I've been wondering where my monetary offering should go. I was recently reminded, however, that the money is God's money and He will use it for the good of His kingdom no matter where I give it. Then, in church this morning, it was announced that the next few weeks will be a campaign to get the church out of debt. Normally, people (including myself) groan at stewardship messages. The fact that this had been on my heart, however, really drove it home that God can and will use my money no matter where it goes, AND He gave me a clear picture of where it is needed right now (in my little part of the world, at least).
Contentment: Lately, I've been hearing from various sources that it's dangerous to be content in life. According to these sources, if you're content, there's nothing in your life that can only be handled by God - if you're content, you're not really relying on God to take care of the "unknowns" in your life. This is some of what the Bible says about contentment, though:
- Philippians 4:11-12 - "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
- 1 Timothy 6:6 - "Now godliness with contentment is great gain."
- Hebrews 13:5 - "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"
So, I think being content is perfectly acceptable and to be admired, HOWEVER we shouldn't become complacent. Here's some of what the Bible has to say about complacency:
- Zephaniah 1:12 - "I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem's darkest corners to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. They think the LORD will do nothing to them, either good or bad."
- Revelation 3:16-17 - "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."