Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rationalization or Hardness of Heart?

I had not thought starting out that daily journaling would provide some of the thoughts I would like to share on my blog. But then I'm not sure I thought about the content much at all - so that is fine. I had thought earlier of sharing my goals for the year (aka New Years Resolutions but without all the usual expectations of failure). Perhaps I still should. Making a public declaration kind of forces your hand...

Scripture: Mark 6:52
For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

Observation:I am sure there are many things that cause our hearts to be hardened. The reference here is to one of Jesus’ miracles, this time feeding 5,000 men (plus women & children) with only 5 loaves and 2 fish. In verse 37 of this chapter after Jesus tells them “You give them something to eat.”, they respond in a way I can understand and relate to; “Are you serious?”. Of course I can relate, I mean if Jesus said that to me, how would I react – how do I react? Are there 5,000 homeless people in the Denver area? Almost certainly the number is significantly higher than that.

A friend wrote in her blog yesterday:

I am not a church building hater. Actually, I have always dreamed of a building packed with clothes. So many clothes that you have to sit on them just to fit in the sanctuary. A kitchen with a hot meal always ready, not a trendy coffee shop. A food pantry opened 24/7. Beds and showers for those who need it. I have held on to this vision for 18 years.


I have a vision where the CHURCH takes care of those in need instead of the government. I have a vision of children being able to break the cycle of poverty. I have the vision where if someone is cold, hungry or wet then believers will step in and provide. I have a vision where churches stop putting their money into planting more flowers or repaving their perfect parking lot and invest the money into people instead.

This is quite a challenge – and not just lofty words, this is a young woman who has been in the trenches serving God amongst the unloved and disenfranchised people in her community and further afield most of her life. I think I felt compelled to capture this because it illustrates the point not because it is my point.

My point is simply that doubting God, not trusting in Him hardens my heart.

It doesn’t really matter what God is asking me or anyone else to do. It might involve the homeless, it might be the poor, it might be orphans, it might be unreached people in a far away land or a thousand other things. If we doubt what He tells us to do, if we don’t trust Him to have our back on this then our heart becomes hardened. He not us is how these things that are so immense, so overpowering, so much bigger than ourselves can get done, but do we really believe that – do I really believe that?

I see this in myself and others – I just never recognized it as hardness of heart. I think the preferred term is rationalization…

Application:I feel a burden for the poor or homeless. I don’t know why that gets me more than anything else but I’m pretty sure it is something God has put in me, not just white suburban middle class guilt. So the question is then how will this make a difference in my life? For me I think it must be to figure out exactly what this burden means – it has to mean something more tangible than doing the odd small thing here and there – things that are well within myself and MY capability to accomplish. What should I be doing that I need to rely on God to accomplish?

Prayer:Lord, at the risk of being told something I am not comfortable with, I want to open my heart to You to know more clearly what it is that You want me to be doing. And with that, the strength and courage to trust in You and pursue it.

To be clear and ensure no one who recognizes the photo above thinks it is a message about Jesus with no tangible evidence to back it up, this is the Denver Rescue Mission - a group of people with an incredible ministry to the poor and homeless.
Denver Rescue Mission

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