Lent Helps Us Focus on What's Important

Dan Fowler

As part of our 40 Days of Hope Lenten calendar, we asked various supporters in our network to share reflections on why they pray, serve, or give. Read more at: www.hfny.org/lent

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” — 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

I was going to be a lifeguard in the summer after high school at a town pool on Long Island. Or so I thought. The previous year, I had been certified to be a lifeguard at an all-boys Christian camp. Although it was an amazing place to spend one’s summer, that first year on staff I had a difficult time with developing friendships. My dad was on the Board of Directors at this camp. One night after dinner he asked if I would be serving there again, as they had a need for college-age counselors. I told him I really didn’t have a desire to do it. However, before I made my final decision, I would pray about it.

A few nights later, during my evening devotions, God spoke to me through 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. In reading and meditating on the passage, it was clear my Heavenly Father was asking me to sacrifice what I desired and instead give my time and talents to Him at camp. And more than that, God promised He would provide for my needs. And, lo and behold, that promise was kept! Although I made less that summer, I received an unexpected monetary prize during my high school graduation ceremony. Even more important for me was the circle of friendships formed that year—friendships that continue to this day.

You may be asking, “What does this have to do with Hope for New York, or even the season of Lent for that matter?” The point I’m making here is that God called me many years ago to give back some of my time and my desires to Him. Lent has traditionally been a season in the Church calendar where Christians are called to let go of their own desires and instead focus on the needs of others, especially the poor and needy. One wonderful way we can do this is by taking some time over the next couple of months and contribute with our finances, our time, or even both! I encourage you to join a few of the HFNY Young Supporters on April 8 to serve lunch at The Bowery Mission downtown. Or perhaps you want to grab some friends early on a Saturday morning and serve breakfast at The Father’s Heart Ministries in the East Village. Maybe your weekends are booked up; well, St. Paul’s House in Hell’s Kitchen offers opportunities to help on weekday mornings. “I don’t have the time,” you might say. If that’s the case, why don’t you consider joining myself and others in contributing to The Hope Exchange? Your monthly gifts will go towards Hope for New York affiliates such as the ones listed above.

These days, God calls me to give in different ways (though what I wouldn’t give to spend a whole summer up in the woods again!). How might you feel called to give and serve not only in this season, but in the years to come?


Daniel Fowler is a long-time supporter and volunteer of Hope for New York. He is currently the Volunteer Co-Chair on the Younger Supporters Community Leadership Council.