I definitely can tell I am working full time again. Everything else falls by the wayside. Bummer for my social life, bonus for the checkbook. It is so funny how every time I PLAN to go on call, another opportunity presents itself and I get sucked back in. I haven't decided if that is a God thing or me being an idiot. But for now, I am thanking God for the blessing of work and ministry through it, and asking Him for help with the "B" word. BALANCE.
As I haven't read any wonderful books of late and don't feel overly inspired or witty now, I asked God what I might share that would bring encouragement to your heart. He reminded me of a sermon I heard awhile back that one of our interns presented. It was fantastic and something I go back to often. It's based on Mark 4:1-20 and describes the 4 Types of Hearts. Huh? Yep. There are 4 types of hearts out there, and we aren't talking human, bovine, aquatic or otherwise. These are definitions of the "condition" of our spiritual hearts. Read through the passage with me, and then see what you think below.
Tyler, our intern, said it so much better than I can- but I will give it to you in a nut shell and pray that you will honestly evaluate where YOUR heart is right now, and ask if that is where you WANT it to be. Sometimes a painful exercise, but always a beneficial one. If you don't know what you are aiming for, you will miss it every time right?
Heart #1 : Hard Heart. This is the person who has a blatant disregard for God. This can be an open rejection for God or a passive one. The open ones I love, because at least we both know where the other stands. But the passive ones are tough. The idea is that they are "all in" when the music is good, friends are to be had, and the message is fun and inspiring. But because this person never actually pursues their own RELATIONSHIP with God, they never really get it. So sad. Their very LACK of conviction is their undoing. (Read verses 4:15)
Heart #2 : Shallow Heart. This one is soft and willing, but because they didn't dig deep- they don't build good roots. So when the "stink" hits the fan- they wither up and die. :( I think this one is the hardest to see. Because they are the ones we love so much, but can't understand why they won't read their Bibles, talk to God, find fellow believers to walk alongside- you know, the good stuff. They are the ones that when they go- you miss so much but knew it was coming. (Read verses 4:16-17)
Heart # 3 : Busy Heart. Yeah, now it gets really uncomfortable! This is the one who lets their love for God be suffocated by the "tyranny of the urgent". The important things aren't always the urgent things, you know? In the passage, these are the hearts that get so caught up going in different directions, their root system suffers too and they can never get the nutrients to truly be HEALTHY. (Read verses 4:18-19)
Heart # 4 : Open Heart. Ahhh...this is where we all wish we could be, or stay. This heart is "not too hard, not too shallow, and not to busy...It's soft and deep and AVAILABLE." Don't I wish I could say I hang out here all the time? But if I am honest- I know I tend towards the Busy Heart more than anything. Help me, Lord to be open to you. Change my heart.
Tyler didn't leave us on a depressed note though, so I won't do that to you either! He pointed us to a verse that brings that old Sunday School song to some of our minds, or just the simple comfort that you aren't alone in this.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22a That's what a person with an Open Heart looks like!
God wants to bless you with a new heart- one that is "all in" for him. How awesome, yes? And if I look at that list with my busy heart- trying to get all that "fruit" with my own strength, I suck at life. But when I look at it clearly, knowing that God will do the work, if I just soften to Him in obedience and make myself available to Him in my commitments- Woohoo! That's when we can rock this world with the love, joy, peace, patience, blah blah blah that can not be ignored!
I hope you realize today how much God wants to work FOR you, friend. He adores you. Open your heart to Him, and get to know Jesus better. There is nothing like it.
(The photos of my goombas were simply for your entertainment. All my flowers are dead, the yard is a mess from the freeze- but the most beautiful things to me are these sweet faces. God, give them all a heart after You!)