Fill ‘er Up

“. . . the famine was severe everywhere.”

 

 

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“The seven years of plenty that the land of Egypt had enjoyed came to an end,  and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every other country, but there was food throughout Egypt.  When the Egyptians began to be hungry, they cried out to the king for food. So he ordered them to go to Joseph and do what he told them.  The famine grew worse and spread over the whole country, so Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.” (Genesis 41:53-57)

It took a moment for me to realize what I was seeing as I drove through the Amish countryside in central Ohio.  I was seeing Amish storage sheds – I think what we also call fodder shocks.  The dried corn stalks had been cut and bundled, then stacked against one another to make this series of “storehouses” – fodder to feed the cattle as the harshness of winter progressed.  For some reason I thought of the story of Joseph as he filled the grain storehouses for the coming drought that God had revealed to him – and then I thought of Lent.

It occurs to me that Lent can be thought of as a time to fill spiritual storehouses.  Maybe that seems a little different than the usual focus on repentance and forgiveness, but I contend that it’s all part of the same process.  The invitation to allow God’s Spirit to examine us, call us to repentance, and breath forgiveness and new life into us is the first step toward filling our spiritual storehouses with the grace offered in Christ.  That grace will be necessary to keep us through the coming times of drought (hardship and suffering) that are sure to occur in our lives.  Lent is more than a time for “giving up something.”  It is not a simple discipline to prove that we have will-power.  Lent is about filling storehouses.

Drought, scorching heat, relentless winds and other forces might combine to ruin a crop or make it otherwise impossible to grow food.  Obviously, the result can be extreme famine and even death.  The unprepared are devastated.  Likewise tragic loss, unrelenting temptation, and other forces can combine to bring emotional devastation to the spiritually unprepared.  Will power is important, but will power alone will not save us.  It is the opening of our selves to the work of God’s Spirit that will fill our spiritual storehouses with grace and keep us through the droughts whose coming we cannot necessarily control or even predict.  God’s Spirit calls us to fill those spiritual storehouses by prayer, study, repentance, worship, and service so that we will be ready.

I pray that God will help me use this Lent to fill my spiritual storehouse.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

 

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on February 27, 2013.

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