Sunday, April 30, 2017

“If a clean heart wears dirty clothes, it will still look clean! If a dirty heart wears clean clothes, it will still look dirty!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan


                     I’ve been thinking a lot about what our worker, Francis, said to John the other day when he told John that “God has seen your heart.”  He was telling John that God doesn’t judge on what does or doesn’t get accomplished—God judges on what is in your heart.  God is not counting how many orphans we feed every day—He is looking into our hearts to see if feeding them is important to us.  God doesn’t care how many people go to your church, God cares about what is in the hearts of each and every one of them.  Numbers have never mattered, but the purpose of your heart has always and will always matter to God.  When I was being interviewed to see if I was fit for ordination, I was asked what I thought should be done to stop the decline in membership of the United Methodist Church.  My reply was, “Why are we counting?” You see I thought that having active, vital, and authentic churches was more important that the number of people on the rolls attending them.  The committee didn’t like my answer, but I suspect God did.  You can live in a big house, drive an expensive car, and belong to all the best clubs and still have the heart of an authentic Christian—and God will know if you do.  You can give all you have to the poor and still be soaked and stained in sin.  It isn’t about how much money you have or don’t have—it’s about your attitude toward it.  Remember the Olympic runner in Barcelona who fell and whose father came out of the stands to help him limp across the finish line dead last?  Many do remember that moment because it wasn’t about winning the race, it was about the desire in the hearts of both father and son that mattered.     
                              It isn’t about whether or not you have the certificates or credentials that this world considers important; it’s about whether or not you have the heart to do what God requires of you.  You can be rich or poor, highly educated or illiterate, male or female, fat or thin—none of these matters to God as much as what He sees in your heart.  Is your heart His?  Does Christ abide there?  Do you care for others more than yourself?  You can feed the hungry and clothe the naked and still displease God if you are doing it for the wrong reasons.  Some practice Christian charity to call attention to themselves, to make themselves look better to others, or to detract attention from the money they spent self-indulgently.  Here, only about $100 will feed 100 orphans every day for two months, yet Americans spend over 370 million dollars every year—on Halloween costumes—FOR THEIR PETS!  That’s right $370,000,000.00 per year on pet costumes in just one country while children are starving all over the world.  Do you have to ask what God thinks about that?  The words that our worker, Francis, spoke to John brought him comfort and brought a smile to my face, but those same words should strike fear into countless folks who call themselves Christian because God has seen their hearts as well.  God can see and has seen what we often wish to keep hidden, but nothing is hidden from God.  I am actually thankful that God can see into my heart because even though I fail at many things I attempt in His name, I know that God knows that doing His will is my greatest desire.  I don’t always succeed, but success is not what He measures, for God rates desire higher than accomplishment.  If this is true (and it is) what is a person to do?  Simple, ask God to “Create in me a clean heart.”  If asked sincerely, it will be done.  It’s been done since the time of David and will be done until the end of time.  You can count on that.  You can also count on the fact that Francis was telling the truth when he said, “God has seen your heart.”  Amen.
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