It is a tradition of Lent to “give something up” until Easter. I have heard of people giving up cheeseburgers or coffee or chocolate. Some decide to give up social media or television. The idea is that in the space (or the cost) of that which was given up, we will use the time for prayer or reading scripture.

We reallocate the money we would have spent on our habit to the church or to a charity. On Easter Sunday we once again pick up those habits and go about our lives.

What if rather than giving something up, we added something? What if we added value to others through acts of kindness or generosity?

Here are a few things to think about adding that can make a difference in the lives of those around you.

  1. Make a Gratitude List: Write each day in a journal or notebook 5 things for which you are thankful.
  2. When standing in line at the drugstore, the grocery store, or in any other line, pray a silent prayer for those working behind the counter, and for those in line with you.
  3. At the end of each day, take three minutes to reflect on the ways you saw God work in your life that day.
  4. Call or text someone in your contact list or address book who you have not spoken to in a while. Pray for them as you dial or text.
  5. Introduce yourself to a neighbor on your street that you have not met.
  6. Buy at least one extra can of food each week to donate to a food bank
  7. Take a dessert dish to a neighbor.
  8. Find a way to care for creation: pick up trash along the road, put the bird feeder out.
  9. Write a card to a family member or friend and simply sign your name. Pray for them as you seal the envelope.
  10. Walk a dog at the local shelter.

Prayer: Almighty God, we walk this Lenten journey with you in small and large ways. Grant us grace to love others in small and large ways in your name.


Rev. Joseph James, Jr.

Trinity UMC Senior Pastor