Ecology of the Heart

Increasing importance is being placed every year in all countries of the world on preserving and protecting our environment – and rightly so. As stewards of God’s creation, we have not always done the best job of protecting His handiwork. But Jesus talked about a different kind of ecosystem that deserves an even higher priority – cultivating the soil of the heart. Jesus told a parable of a sower, seed and soil. Yesterday, I was watching our gardener pruning and cultivating the plants in the garden. As any good gardener will tell you, the effectiveness of the sower and his seed is totally dependent on the condition of the soil. In fact Jesus said this was the key to understanding all His parables (Mark 4:13). The parable of the soil says this: When God’s word is sown into heart – soil that is prepared, and that the seed springs up and the new life is nurtured, salvation is the result. But if the truth is sown onto hard heart soil, or if the soil dries up or is rocky, it stands little chance of saving the soul.

The parable of the sower and soil is not just about being saved; it is also about living as saved. Because seeds of God’s truth come continually to our hearts, our hearts must be continually kept soft and fertile. The Bible uses the term heart to describe our desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections we have. Our hearts represent the source of our motivations – what we love to do, what we care about most. Our hearts reveal the real us – what we truly are, not what others think we are. Our hearts determine why we say the things we do, why we feel the way we do, why we act the way we do. I remember when I was growing up, I’ve discovered that I was intensely interested in poetry and creative writing that no one else in my family cared about. Where did those interests come from? They came from God. God had a purpose in giving me these inborn interests. I don’t ignore my interests. I consider how they might be used for God’s glory. Repeatedly the Bible says “Serve the Lord with all your heart.” God wants us to serve Him passionately, not dutifully. I’ve noticed people rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionately about. How do we know when we are serving God from our hearts? The first sign is enthusiasm. When we are doing what we love to do, no one has to motivate us or challenge us or check up on us. We do it for the sheer enjoyment. We don’t need rewards or applause or payment, because we love serving this way. The opposite is also true; when we don’t have a heart for what we’re doing, we’re easily discouraged. Another characteristic of serving God from our hearts is effectiveness. Whenever we do what God wired us to do, we get good at it. It’s because passion drives perfection. If we don’t care about a task, it is unlikely that we will excel at it. In contrast, the highest achievers in any field are those who do it because of passion, not duty or profit. Let’s not settle for just achieving “the good life”, because the good life is not enough. Aim instead for the “better life” – serving God in a way that expresses our hearts. God gave each one of us a heart to cultivate and to do – and then do it for His glory.

Sunday Mass Schedule Effective March 2011

6:30am - Filipino
8:00am - English
9:30am - English
11:00am - English

12:15n.n - English

3:30pm - Filipino
5:00pm - English
6:30pm - English
8:00pm - English

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