June 9, 2008

Locating the Heart

            In Matthew 6:21, Jesus offers a perceptive word about how we are put together as humans:  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be as well.”  Scripture uses the word heart as shorthand for one’s deepest self, the whole of a person. The condition and location of one’s heart makes all the difference. The heart is the center of emotions, feelings, moods, and passions. It is the place where the most important decisions of life are made; the heart understands, provides wisdom, and is the place where conversion takes place. In Baptist tradition we speak of “giving our hearts to Jesus.” The heart is the center of our being—to which God has access.


            The Bible poses a haunting question: “to what will you give your heart?”  Sadly, humans have a great propensity to give their hearts to that which is less than worthy of them. We too often find our treasure in corruptible things; these do not least, and they distract us from pursuing the real treasure, embodying the reign of God.


            Saint Augustine in The City of God made the astute observation that people are going to love, almost by nature. It is right that we do so. The core problem is that we misplace our loves, and love too intensely the wrong things.  Thus, we had better decide carefully whom or what we will love because we will ultimately become like what we love.



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