Notes from Fred
Sunday was a wonderful day – with a touching celebration of Cathy Micun’s ministry with us; and a rousing celebration of our Walk to Jerusalem. Thank you to all who made these celebrations so special (and, if you were not here on Sunday, or missed it, be sure to pick up your Walk to Jerusalem backpack)!
And this Sunday will be special, as well, as we give Bibles to our rising Third Graders – an important time in their lives and in the life of our Family!
How Is Your Heart?
On Sunday, we prepared for the next steps in our Journey to Wellness by checking the condition of our hearts – learning that to have a healthy heart, we must be a servant of all, with unfailing love for all. (Matthew 10:43-45; Romans 12:9-18)
- Our Walk to Jerusalem has been a great success, in every way. But it is only the beginning of our Journey to Wellness. So, as we prepare for the next steps in our Journey, we are taking this time to look at the condition of our hearts – for our hearts determine the condition of our minds, bodies, and spirits.
- Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew that for us “to be great” in our journey with him, we must have the heart of a “servant of all.” Paul then describes in his letter to the Romans, and to us, the condition of the heart of a servant of all, and how to get our hearts in that condition. Paul shows us many check points to determine whether we have the healthy heart of a servant for all – but we explored just one (with a number more to be explored in the weeks to come).
- The First Test of a healthy heart is this: Are you a servant of all, who loves all of the people in your life with unfailing love, hope, patience, and prayer? Of all these words, the most difficult and demanding check point in our “EKG” is the word “all.” We are created to love all of the people in our lives, the ones who are easy to love, and the ones we love to hate, love to judge – the ones who have hurt us, our families, our jobs, our futures, themselves….
- The reason that the health of our hearts depends on being a servant of all, loving all, is that this is our DNA. We are created in the image of God, His DNA flows in our blood. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus – who loves us all, even when we hurt (continue to hurt) him. And our hearts will only be healthy when we align our hearts with his heart, our lives with his life.
- Our hearts will be healthy if we love all of the people in our lives – with unfailing love (never giving up); with hope (believing that God has a future for them); with patience (no matter how tough the going gets); with prayer (calling on God to join us in the loving when we don’t think that we can love anymore).
- This is the love of a servant of all that a young woman learns, and offers to us, through the play, A Raisin in the Sun. It is based on a true story of a family living in Chicago in the 1930’s. Their story is too long to repeat here (hear it on our website). In summary, a son, Walter Lee (a young man who has experienced much trouble), squanders all of the family’s money – defeating his sister’s dream of being the first person in her family to go to college and to eventually become a doctor.
- The sister lashes out with bitterness and hatred. Her mother confronts her: “Didn’t I teach you to love him?” “Love him,” the daughter spits back, “there is nothing left to love!” But the mother stands firm: “There is always something left to love! And before you start measuring somebody, you take into account the hills and valleys they have come through. Don’t you give up on him child; you keep praying for him.” Then Mama concludes with these heart-changing words: “There is always something left to love… And when there is almost nothing left to love, that’s when we must love the most….”
- There is a Walter Lee in each of our lives, a parent, spouse, child, family member, friend, co-worker, business partner, who has said hurtful words, done hurtful things, made hurtful choices – and it seems like there is nothing left to love.
- Yet, as we begin the next steps in our Journey to Wellness, this is the stress test for our hearts. How is your heart? Do you love Walter Lee; do you take into account the hills and valleys they have gone through; do you see that there is something left to love – and love them with unfailing love? If you do, then you have a healthy heart. If not, then I pray that God will give you the heart of a servant of all, fill you with unfailing love, even when there is almost nothing left to love!
- And there is one thing more, something beautiful that happens if we have the heart of a servant of all, with unfailing love for all. We have seen this beautiful thing in the life of our servant of all, Cathy Micun. (Listen to the “the test” on our website.) All who have known Cathy have experienced her love – and now each of us whom she has loved have a heart of love for her. For, when we live as servants of all with unfailing love for all, our lives are filled, in turn, with the love of those we love….
- The danger is that we will forget these great truths, and forfeit the great blessing they offer us and the people in our lives. So I shared with you the story of the Touchstone (hear it on our website), the legendary stone that is on the coast of the Black Sea, that will turn warm in your hand and turn everything you touch into gold, into great riches. A man became obsessed with the search for the Touchstone, picking up one stone at a time, and hurling every cold stone into the sea. Suddenly, a stone began to turn warm in his hand, but, without thinking, he hurled it into the sea, realizing only after he let it go, what he had forfeited.
- God has given us a gift of great riches, the way to a healthy heart and a healthy life. In order to remember His offered gift, I gave each of you a stone, to be your Touchstone, to remember to be a servant of all, with unfailing love for all, even, especially, when there is almost nothing left to love…!
Connection for the Week: Ask God to lead you to a Walter Lee in your life; to guide you and give you the courage to love them; and to experience His gift of a healthy heart and healthy life, as you do.