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The Heart of the Matter




When the young man first felt the beauty of his first love, he found that his heart roared like the flames of a raging fire who’s smoke could be seen for miles. He couldn’t eat, and he couldn’t sleep, and everything he did was done for the pursuit of that love and the maintenance of that fire. When he lost that love, his heart sank like a heavy stone thrown into deep water. The ripples of that sinking could be seen by everyone, but the stone was now invisible, being pressed beneath the waves and waters. No longer a roaring fire, or even a smoldering ember, his heart laid dead and black like cold, wet ashes dispersed by hidden undercurrents. Once again, he couldn’t eat, and he couldn’t sleep. But now, his life seemed to have no direction. His mind became blank, and his spirit more doldrums than wind or breeze.


The salesman remembered a time when his heart was set to win. He worked long hours. He learned everything there was to know about the widgets his company made. His enthusiasm glowed so brightly that the persuasive force of its light pushed his clients to buy those widgets. And it drew new customers to the sales floor like insects mesmerized by the glow of a bug zapper. But one day he lost heart. And since his heart was no longer in it, his sales slumped. He no longer learned about the widgets of his company. His persuasion became not a glowing light, but a dull, plastic banana. It looked technically pretty, but fooled no one.


When the heart attack hit Nancy, she stared into the faceless shadowy cloak of death and his terrible scythe. Blood no longer flowed to her brain, and its thoughts began to fade. She was unable to animate her body, and breathing became difficult. She had never thought about it until that moment, but she now realized perfectly how vital constant blood flow is to staying alive. When it was healthy, the center of her body kept her alive with a rhythmic thumping that pushed life, and oxygen, and nutrition to every one of her cells. The same thumping, using the same blood, helped transport away all the waste built up by those same cells as they lived out their lives.


The heart is the center of our being. It animates us and keeps us alive. This is why Jesus commands us to be committed to God with all of our hearts, with all of our minds, and with all of our spirits (Matthew 22:37-39). These three things are integrated into a system that keeps us alive. Essentially, Jesus is commanding us to love God with everything. When our heart, mind, and spirit are oriented this way, then we are truly alive, and we can truly love others.

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