Reflecting on ZOE During This Time of Lent
by Lyndsey Lessner, ZOE Regional Development Associate
Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter (not including Sundays), is a time for self-reflection and redirection towards more holy living. Forty days equals almost one-tenth of the 365 days in one year. Similar to how God asks us to trust him with our resources by giving a tithe of ten percent of our income, this annual 40-day time period can be considered a tithing of our time. Time can be difficult to fully grasp and manage, often something we take for granted. We have the same finite amount of time each day and calendar year and yet there are never enough hours in a day to accomplish everything.
In a season of life and society that seems to value busy-ness over rest, more over less, self over others, I often struggle to say no. No to church events, no to another well-meaning small group, no to endless kids’ activities and parties, no to things that individually are good things but cumulatively take my time and deplete my soul and the time I spend with God and the relationships closest to me that need nurturing. In order to thrive and live my life to fullest potential God created within me, I need to be intentional with my time.
ZOE knows we have a finite, three-year time period to support these children to sustainability. We are deliberate in our comprehensive approach with these orphans and vulnerable children, addressing every aspect of their livelihood to ensure their optimal success. Trainings include health, hygiene, food security, educational, vocational and business training, safe and secure housing, child rights, community connection, and knowing they are loved. Without each of these pieces, their chance of success decreases. ZOE wants each child and family to thrive in this short time and therefore we must be intentional with our process.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. For some, tithing money may be difficult, for others, tithing time in service, prayer or Bible study may be demanding. Yet each discipline is essential to making us whole and focused on God rather than ourselves. There are many parts which make up our overall physical and spiritual health and we must find balance and redirection throughout the year to not lose sight of our ultimate purpose, our Savior.
Since ZOE is a child-led model, it is essential that each child recognize their value and importance within the group, each just as capable at affecting change as the next. The beauty of the working group is that these children come together as a community, each with different strengths, weaknesses, and ideas to support one another to create something greater than each could do individually. These children become a new family, staying together much longer than our three-year program. ZOE works to support their relationships with each other and with God, rather than their dependence on ZOE.
Lent is our time to redirect our focus from ourselves and turn that dependence towards God. We often recognize our strengths and we can rely on God to fill our weaknesses. We cannot succeed at everything no matter how hard we try. We need a support system in family, friends, colleagues, and most importantly God. I pray that you use this finite, forty days to be intentional with the gift of time, giving God your first and your best.