Fasting… My Translation

1 11 2010

I had my annual physical last week. When I called to make the appointment the kind voice on the other end of the call noted that I would need to “fast” from midnight through to after the appointment. Not really a big deal for me since even though I’m often awake at midnight, the kitchen closes at my house once the late night news starts. Breakfast is not that big a deal either. I hate to say it, but I skip it more often than I should. There’s something about being forced to fast though. It’s hard for me to express how much I wanted to bite into the warm gooey goodness of 4 or 5 of the 8 Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that came out of the oven for the boys that morning. Or how the car seemed to veer towards Chick-Fil-A on the way to the doctor’s office. Those tiny morsels of honey butter coated yeast rolls hugging the deep fried and perfectly pressure cooked chicken tenderloin nuggets, singing songs of joy and tempting me to nearly break my fast.

Once the needles were put away and the rubber gloves were turned inside out and everything was tossed into the red trashcan, feedom… sorry, freedom was granted. And as soon as it was… the feeling was gone. Not even the flashing neon of Krispy Kreme lured me in.

It’s an interesting phenomena… Wanting what you can’t have and then caring nothing about it once you have it. I believe this is strictly an American attitude. For me personally I’ve never been impacted greatly by fasting in the spiritual tense. Food is not a big deal to me. I like only certain things cooked a certain way. Very plain. Like going without breakfast, I often can go without lunch as well. Dinner (what we call supper in my house) tends to be a family gathering where we find out what everyone’s favorite part of the day happened to be. But even though my wife is a great cook, the food at the meal is secondary to sitting around the table.

So where does that leave me when it comes time to “fast and pray”. Now I believe that those two elements go hand in hand, but… and this is not an excuse…. Food is not real important to me.

When I look deeper at the times when the scriptures were written, I find that not only was a meal a big deal, it took a long time. The women would begin to prepare the single main meal of the day early in the morning. It took all day. Everything a person did during the day led up to and somehow contributed to the meal.

So here’s my take: When the scriptures talk about “fasting” consider what takes up you day… your time… the point of the things you do. Now imagine how those things can separate you from having a clear conversation with God. In the first century it was everything to do with eating a meal. For us it might be sports or TV or gadgets (those are mine), or shuttling kids or homework… all the things that make up our day. When concentrating on prayer, consider what specifically floods your day. What overtakes it. Fast from that. Then see how your relationship with the Father improves!


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