Friday April 3, 2020
12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 15 Remember what it says:
“Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”Hebrews 3:12-15 (NLT)
Jackie Pullinger was a Christian missionary who spent her life working with prostitutes, heroin addicts and gang members in the worst neighborhood in Hong Cong. She spoke about her motivation saying, “God wants us to have soft hearts and hard feet. The trouble with so many of us is that we have hard hearts and soft feet.” In other words, love and compassion (soft hearts) should get us walking (hard feet) to where we can help those in need.
How do we get hard hearts?
It’s basically selfishness that pushes out concern for others. The Bible talks a lot about Pharaoh in Egypt having a hard heart when Moses asked him to free the Jewish slaves. Pharaoh cared more about holding on to his power than about the suffering of the slaves.
I think a root cause of selfishness is often fear. We so fear losing something that we focus on keeping it with no thought about others. We are so afraid of something, like not enough money or lack of respect or physical danger, that we won’t stop avoiding it, even if we ignore everyone else in the process.
Jesus and God’s angels knew well what fear can do to us. Again and again they told people in sermons and visions, “Do not be afraid!” Especially don’t be afraid to do something unselfish and good.
Our hospital staffs are a wonderful example of this. They are keeping their hearts soft and their feet hard as they care for Covid19 sufferers. And we are doing our part. Yes, we are taking precautions seriously. But we are doing it as much to protect others as to protect ourselves. And in many ways we are walking the extra mile to keep people from feeling forgotten and alone. As we all do this, we also are keeping our hearts from becoming hard. Thanks be to God.
-Pastor Doug Donigian