Hard Hearts

Hard Hearts
Author: Andrew Archer, Student Ministry Director
I Do, but Do I? - Part 6
A few weeks ago, I was heading to the I-68 Walmart with my three youngest kids to run some errands. As we were turning right past the Sheetz, Kinsley, my six-year-old, asked if I had any cash in my wallet. Typically, I don't carry cash—or even my wallet with the convenience of Apple Pay—however, I did happen to have six dollars in cash at the time, so I responded, "Yeah, I have a couple of bucks, why?" She told me to make sure I had it ready when we were leaving the store.

In Mark 3, Jesus and His disciples are hanging out in the synagogue on the Sabbath, a day when no work was to be done. They come across a man with a withered hand, and Jesus heals this man's hand while the religious leaders look on, hoping to accuse Jesus of breaking God's law by working on the Sabbath day. I never noticed what Jesus said about the religious leaders until Pastor Tim pointed it out this past Sunday. 
After looking around at them with anger, He was grieved at the hardness of their hearts and told the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
– Mark 3:5
Jesus was grieved at the hardness of their hearts. The problem the religious leaders were facing was that they had allowed their hearts to become so callous that when they looked at the man with the paralyzed hand, they did not see an image bearer of the highest God, a person with inherent value and worth, someone worth listening to and loving. They didn't even really see the man, but rather, saw him as a means to an end to try to trap Jesus. They cared not for him; they cared only about keeping the status quo that Jesus was upsetting. 

Our attitude towards people in need is often extremely telling of the state of our hearts, and we should have soft hearts that are moved with compassion when we see others in need. 

When heading to Walmart, I just wanted to go to the store, get my errands done, and get home to get the kids fed and put to bed. I was busy. My heart was closed off to the needs of others, and I was tunnel-visioned on what I wanted and needed to do.

That was not the case for Kinsley. She saw a woman standing at the intersection asking for help. She saw an image bearer of God. She saw someone with worth and value, and her heart was moved to ask her busy daddy to help that woman. I know that Christ would have been grieved at my heart and rejoicing at my daughters that day.

I don't want you to walk away from this and feel ashamed if you have driven by someone panhandling and not given them some cash. We have all done that. I'm also not certain that is the most helpful way in which we can love that person at that moment; however, our attitude towards people in need is often extremely telling of the state of our hearts, and we should have soft hearts that are moved with compassion when we see others in need.

This week, pray with me as David did in Psalm 139:23-24—

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way.

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