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THE ROAD TO EASTER: Serve others during Lent, not the television

March 9, 2018
By REV. MICHAEL JOHNSON , Lake Placid News

Pain or pleasure? Which would you choose? I think we all know the answer.

One means by which we enjoy pleasure is the electronic devices we use to relax, let off a bit of steam or just simply be entertained. These devices, in and of themselves, are not harmful. However, our use of these devices can be harmful ... or, at best, a waste of our time.

This Lenten season, the clergy in your community are offering alternative uses of your leisure time. Specifically, to deny yourself the electronic pleasure of your devices for other uses of your time.

Article Photos

Rev. Michael Johnson

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average television viewing time for ages 15 to 44 averaged around two hours per day, and those ages 65 and over spent the most time watching TV, averaging more than four hours per day. Even with the smaller figure, that's 14 hours in a seven-day week. That's a lot of time and that doesn't include other leisure activities like Internet browsing or computer gaming.

I'd like to suggest you do something different this Lenten season. Serve others. There are many opportunities to be a "help" to someone else.

Elderwood of Uihlein is one place that you can volunteer some time. Whether you dedicate a little bit of time or more time, this is a great place to connect with others. You might be surprised how a little human touch will impact someone's life.

If you have a regular place of worship and you don't normally get involved, why don't you talk to a pastor or other leader in your church to find out how you can help. You'll make your pastor's day (or week, or month) by volunteering. There are other opportunities for volunteering in our area. Please invest in finding an opportunity that suits you. Once you've served, you'll find it very rewarding.

Perhaps you don't want to get "formally" involved. That's fine. You can help out a neighbor or co-worker when you know there is a need. It may seem a suggestion from a bygone era, but, inviting someone over for a dinner (or a coffee) is a very personable way to serve others.

I know what you might be thinking, "This will not only take some time but some effort."

Yes, it takes time and some effort to serve others. But hasn't this self-sacrifice already been modeled for us in Jesus Christ?

Jesus's disciples were arguing among themselves one day about who would be the greatest among them in God's kingdom. Jesus has to correct their mindset because in His kingdom, the greatest would be the ones serving. And why?

Because, Jesus says: "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Jesus performed the ultimate service by laying aside His privileges and taking on human form to be the sacrifice for sin. Your sin and my sin.

The good news of the gospel is that the Greatest came to serve. He took our place of punishment that we might find redemption through Him. Might you follow the Savior's example this Lenten season and serve others? Turn off the television, shut down the computer and set the phone down and serve. I promise you it will be gratifying and you won't miss those electronic devices.

(The Rev. Michael D. Johnson is the pastor of the Lake Placid Pilgrim Holiness church.)



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