When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. Matthew 9:36 (MSG)
The prophet Ezekiel said that God would take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. I thought about that as I read the verse above this morning. The further I get in the journey I find my heart getting softer. My family will tell you that I’ve always been a softy, but sometimes I think it gets a bit ridiculous. Thankfully, I have a wife who doesn’t seem to mind that her husband cries right along with her in movies, who rarely gets through a worship service without shedding a tear, and who feels things with increasing depth.
I’ve never forgotten my friend, Mike, who said he had to give up being an EMT after he started following Jesus. When God took away his heart of stone and gave him a heart of flesh, he suddenly began to feel the pain of the broken people he was called on to serve in emergencies. “I couldn’t do the work through my tears,” he said.
And yet, what is it to feel empathy and compassion if it doesn’t motivate me to act? And what should that action be? How interesting that Jesus didn’t say, “Look at the confused and aimless crowd, like sheep without a shepherd. I MUST SHEPHERD THEM ALL!” He said, “Listen up boys, we need to pray for reinforcements.”
Today, I’m praying for depth of discernment to accompany my depth of feeling. I want my emotions to motivate appropriate actions.
- Regeneration Week: Charles Spurgeon On Ezekiel 36:26-27 (thelightheartedcalvinist.com)
- Pulverizing and Purging the Paralysis of Prejudice: John 4 (chaplainjcraigcombs.wordpress.com)
- Jesus in Japan: The One Who Calms Those Covered By Waves (clarkruss.wordpress.com)
- Matthew James (livegenerously.wordpress.com)
- The Good Shepherd: Teaching us how to shepherd our family (christianitymatters.wordpress.com)