The most interesting way to look at it is the number of days during Lent that represents a fitting “tenth” of our calendar year.
In the book of Genesis, Abraham gave “a tenth of everything” to the mysterious king of Salem (Genesis 14:20). This way of giving was subsequently repeated throughout the Old Testament, building a custom of giving to God a “tenth” (also known as a “tithe”) of the fruit of a person’s labor.
Many Christians have taken this practice and give to the Church or other charitable organizations 10 percent of their income which is their “tithe”.
In that case, many people throughout the centuries have called the season of Lent the “tithe of the year”. In accordance with the medieval spiritual reflection known as the Golden Legend, it says that from the first Sunday of Lent to Easter day there are six weeks or 42 days, from which the six Sundays are subtracted from the fast, leaving only the 36 days of fasting. Altogether there are 365 days in the year, so we are, so to speak, giving a tenth of our year to God.
Meanwhile, this numerical calculation is based on an earlier practice of Lent, currently, we have 40 days of fasting from Ash Wednesday (excluding Sundays), comprising a little over a tenth of our year.
In this case, we can look at Lent as a way to interfere with our normal routines and devote more time to God. For some people, time is one of their most guarded treasures and the thought of taking time out of their day for prayer or spiritual reading is daunting.
But, that is exactly what God asks of us, especially during this Lenten season.
Offering money to the Church or other charities is certainly an awesome part of living a Gospel-centered life, but it can’t be the only way we “tithe” to God. We must give to God even our time, to be deliberate about our schedule and putting a priority on spending enough time with God.
As you prepare for Lent, consider how you can fix in this concept into your everyday life and give to God a worthy “tithe of the year”.