Saturday, January 03, 2009

Above All Else

I want to teach my children to be generous in every way.

So leaving the store the other day just before Christmas, I pushed a bill into Hudson's hands and guided him toward the Salvation Army Ringer's kettle. I tried explaining what the kettle is for, but I'm not exactly sure my incisive commentary on compassion and poverty made it through his 4 year old filter.

He gets a bit shy around new people, so instead of walking up, he clung to my leg and asked me to put it in instead. I was a bit frustrated, thinking he wasn't "getting it" and so I must not be "doing it right."

But then ringer's comment reoriented me: "Oh, don't worry about it. He has a good heart."
That put it in perspective. A good heart. My mind went right to Proverbs in the Old Testament.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Proverbs 4:23

In other words, there isn't anything more important than looking after who you are.
In the Bible, the heart isn't:
*warm emotion
*the Hallmark Cards section of your anatomy
*your ooey, gooey sentimental center

it is:
*who we are
*the place our will, emotion, intellect and psyche converge
*our decision making center
*the source of every choice, act and behavior
*the furnace of our desires

Get the heart wrong and you get everything else wrong. Get the heart right and it changes everything:
The quality of your relationships.
What you want.
The results you get out of life.
Your business deals.
How you enjoy (or don't enjoy) your work.
The quality of your marriage and family.

And no one, I mean no one, can (or will) guard your heart for you. God alone can change and transform your heart, but you have to be the one to guard it.

And guard it doesn't mean "wall-it-off-so-no-one-can-touch-it." It means "nurture it, look after it, and care for it." In 2009, what will you be doing above all else?

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