The following is the second installment in a weekly Lenten devotional for families, by Mary Jane Pierce Norton of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries. We hope it helps you to know God a little better during these solemn forty days of repentance and preparation.
Week 1 — Week of March 5: Jesus Is Tempted
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
Discussion & Activity: Read together Matthew 4:1-11. When we read about the temptations of Jesus, we are reminded that we all face temptations in our lives.
Pass the rock around among family members. Encourage them to think about how hungry Jesus might have been and how tempting it would have been for him to have turned the rock into bread.
Talk together about what temptations each family member faces at home, at school, at work, or in the community. Those temptations may lead you to identify what you would like to give up during the season of Lent. You may choose to give up certain foods or treats that tempt you to eat too much, or hobbies that cause you to spend too much time on an activity, or actions or patterns that make you think only of yourself instead of others. You might want to give up sweets, or give up texting for one day a week, or give up a cup of coffee, or give up a television program. Consider assessing a money value for each thing family members give up. Save this money; then at Easter, give the money saved as an offering for church or for a community project that serves those in need.
Decorate an empty plastic container with symbols, pictures, and words that remind family members of the temptations of Jesus and of your family’s temptations. Place this on your dining table or in another place where everyone in the household can see it. Each day, place into the container money that you would have spent on the activities that family members have given up.
Gracious God. Just as you were with Jesus through his temptations, we know you are with us as well.
Help us to remember we are not alone.
Help us to share this knowledge with others so that they, too, can know your love and care.