Monday, April 16, 2018
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We've gotten all too used to seeing streams of refugees pouring into another land; into a place to escape whatever was happening in their country. I still remember the heartbreaking images from the end of the 20th Century. You know, there were tens of thousands of Kosovo refugees fleeing from the attacks of Serbian soldiers and police. Day after day, we would hear reports on the news of how many more refugees had arrived on the Albanian or Macedonian border, and how many were jammed into makeshift camps, desperate for food, for water, for shelter, and for a feeling of being human again. Most of the major networks had correspondents on the scene who would report from that sea of humanity and misery. In a moment of disarming honesty, one reporter said, "When you cover a tragedy like this, you have to put up a steel wall to protect yourself or you can't do your job." But then he went on to say, "But I have to confess to you, suddenly today my steel wall came down. I just lost it."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Letting It Happen to Your Heart."
Maybe it's time for your steel wall to come down. If it does, you'll be on your way to having a heart like your Savior's.
Our word for today from the Word of God is from Matthew 9:35. It's about a heart that feels what others are too busy or too hard to feel. It says, "Jesus went through all the towns and villages...preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Now, the original Greek version of this passage reveals how really deep Jesus' feelings were. That Greek word for "had compassion" is actually rooted in the word for "entrails." In other words, when Jesus saw the need of these people, something happened way down deep inside the very deepest parts of His heart. He wants to give you a heart like His. And in the stress and pressures and superficiality of the world we live in, it's easy to inadvertently build a steel wall that keeps us from feeling the lostness of the people around us. But when you lose that, you've lost an essential part of what it means to have a Christ-like heart.
Yes, there are people who care too much. They make every burden their burden, and they end up burning out because they didn't turn those burdens over to Jesus, because they tried to make every need their concern instead of focusing on one or two and making a real difference in those.
But the far more common heart problem is not over-caring. No, it's under-caring. Most of us need to let the wall around us come down - to pray this transforming prayer, "Lord Jesus, help me see what You see when you see my neighbor, my co-worker, my friend, my family members, the people around me who have no relationship with You." See, even in ministry, it's easy to lose the broken heart that brought you into ministry in the first place. What once was passion; maybe it's just become a profession. You do most of the same things, but the passion is gone.
I heard recently of an urban pastor who often waited until sermon time to come to the platform. One Sunday, he wasn't there at sermon time. So, two deacons went back to the pastor's office and they found him looking out his window at the nearby houses and crying. One deacon said, "Oh, pastor, you're weeping over the needs of the people in this neighborhood, aren't you?" The pastor said, "No. I'm weeping because it doesn't move me like it used to."
Maybe that's you. Let the wall come down. Let Jesus put a piece of His caring, broken heart in you. Let Him help you see what He sees, feel what He feels for the people around you - for some people with a need He wants you to do something about.
Living with your heart open makes every day a mission and every day a holy adventure.