Long ago, college football players went home during the summer. Many of them worked during the summer to make spending money or help out their families, but no matter how difficult their summer jobs — construction, roofing, warehouse work, or farm hands — they lost their playing shape. They may have worked outside in the blistering summer heat, but they lost the fine edge they had after spring practice. Then in late July the coaching staff would mail the players their football cleats and a workout schedule. You were expected to head to a convenient practice field after work and run laps, wind sprints, and stadium steps until you were back to “playing shape” before summer practices on campus began.
During Lent we start getting into “playing shape” for life. We begin a daily routine of sacrifice, service, study, and prayer until we reached peak “playing shape” on Easter Sunday.
I have to admit that I dreaded the day those cleats arrived and I drug myself to the practice field. Each early wind sprint, lap around the track, or stadium step was a struggle, but come that first day of two-a-days in the August heat I was glad I had done them. The same goes for your Lenten discipline. When the heat of life’s difficulties bears down on you, you will be glad you are in “playing shape.”