In his book Three Outsiders, Diogenes Allen writes,
“The ideal of freedom in the modern world is symbolized by the supermarket, where we can choose what we want from a very large number of alternatives. The larger the range of choice, the more freedom we have. This is not a wholly erroneous view of freedom; for some choice is necessary for freedom. But it is an incomplete idea of freedom. Human beings need to be liberated from those things which keep them from seeking their own true good. Christianity teaches us how to become free of bondage so that we may freely yield ourselves to the greatest good, even at the loss of lesser goods.” (p. 14)
Practicing Lent, especially a Lenten sacrifice, teaches us to become free of bondage so that we may give ourselves to the greatest good. It may begin with giving up sugar, or coffee, or Facebook; it may mean adding time for prayer or serving others. The specific sacrifice is not as important as the discipline of sacrifice: the formative practice of losing lesser goods and choosing greater goods, in dependence on the Holy Spirit. The discipline of sacrifice develops the disciple, and nurtures a spiritual life that is capable of being light to those who in bondage.