Examine Our Hearts
Peter Judd of Des Moines, IA, USA
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7
Each person is confronted every day with many choices. Some choices are easy. For example, I will choose to put jam on my toast and not peanut butter because I like jam but do not like peanut butter. But other choices are difficult. For example, will I stop to help someone in need or hurry home because I have had a tiring day? The scripture from 1 Samuel 16 is about making choices. The Lord offers guidance: “mortals…look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (v. 7).”
I have often struggled when I see persons by the roadside asking for money. Will I give them a dollar or not? Will I look them in the face and smile or turn the other way? Should I be concerned about whether they actually have the need for my money or how they will use the money I give them? Today I gave two people money. One was sitting at a traffic light where I was waiting for it to turn green. I took a dollar out of my wallet, rolled down my car window, and held out the dollar to him as I moved slowly through the green light. He thanked me saying, “God bless you.” The second man approached me as I was sitting in a McDonald’s restaurant composing this meditation on my computer. He asked for a quarter (25 cents). I found one and gave it to the man. He thanked me, again with words of blessing.
I realize that today, in these two incidents, I had acted from my heart and not on the basis of outward appearance. I want to be more consistent in acting from my heart, in all my encounters with other people. The connections with the people, although brief, were more important than the money.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Lenten Spiritual Practices
Moving Toward the Peaceful One
As Jesus was nearing the final days of his life, he wept over the city and proclaimed, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-42).What are the things that make for peace in our lives, communities, and around the world? During the Lenten season, spend time in silent refection or journaling each day to notice: Am I moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One? Pay attention to your attitudes, actions, and relationships this day. When did you most embody the peaceful One in your daily living? When were your thoughts or actions contrary to the peace of Jesus Christ? How might Jesus, the peaceful One, who is always near to you, be inviting you to draw nearer to him through your daily living?
Fasting and Giving-$40 in 40 Days
A Lenten fast gives us an opportunity to make space in our lives so that God can live in and through us. It’s a time to evaluate what we hunger for most and what we consume. This year, we’ve been invited to tithe as a spiritual practice by setting aside $40 during the 40 days of Lent. If you are participating, pay attention today to the dollar you have given. What might you have done with that dollar otherwise? How does Lenten generosity invite you to reflect on what is “enough” in your life? Who might you invite to join you in this practice? How might your gift be magnified by the many others responding to the same call?
You can make your $40 offering anytime during the Lenten season online or through your offering envelope for Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.