Contemplating Oz: Judging a Heart

Life Notes—October 3, 2013 

  “If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.”  Deuteronomy 15:7

“Just because I’m presumin’ that I could be kind and human, if I only had a heart.”  The Tin man

Dorothy and the Scarecrow are on their way to the Emerald City when they come across a rusted man made of tin.  Once they get his joints oiled they find out he, like they, believes he is lacking something crucial.  He has no heart.  The Tin man is convinced he could be kind, loving and sentimental if he only had a heart.  Of course, the Tin man is arguably the most kind and sentimental of anyone in Dorothy’s community, with or without a heart.  Even so, he feels he cannot be complete without one.

In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy the Jewish people receive instruction in how to live a life of obedience to God.  That instruction includes guidance on how to treat each other.  They are not to be hard-hearted with a neighbor in need.  The writing goes on to say they are to share from their abundance with their fellow Jews in need.  Jesus, in the New Testament, repeats the very same sentiment when he commands us to love one another.  We cannot be loving and hard-hearted at the same time.  Unlike some of the early Jews, the Tin man wants to love others, but feels incapable of doing so.  It is easy to become hard-hearted toward others, even with that big red muscle pumping faithfully in our chest.  We convince ourselves because we have worked for what we have, others should be able to do the same.  We assume someone else will meet a need we ignore.  Perhaps most commonly, we become so consumed by our daily lives we leave no time to notice or attend to the needs of others.  However, the command to love others was second in importance only to loving God, at least according to Jesus.  As Christians, we are called to have a heart for God, and to have a heart for others.

As the Wizard awards the Tin man a heart he says, “And remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”  What must we do to earn the love of others?  We first love them by providing time, attention, and giving freely of ourselves according to their need.  The Tin man shows his love through selfless acts for his community. We need not worry how our hearts will be judged if we do the same.

Tom will be preaching downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch is preaching at the west campus where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.

Come home to church this Sunday.  Have a heart for others.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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