Quotes About Christmas
How to Give Your Heart and Service
Paul Foslien, Senior Pastor, Living Word Family Church, Naples, FL
December 28, 2016
#6) “Christmas gift suggestions: “. . . To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold
In the previous blog regarding this quote (#9), we looked at the first two gifts from Oren Arnold’s quote – forgiveness and tolerance. Remember that true forgiveness is when we declare and choose not to harbor malice or treat someone unkindly because of an offense – to bury a matter completely. And tolerance, true and Godly tolerance, deals with being patient and kind towards those who behave differently, think differently, or have different beliefs. Imagine if our Lord was intolerant of you and me? No one is so perfect in action or word to be deserving of forgiveness, but our God is tolerant and ‘longsuffering’ giving ample time for all to come to know Christ – even those who mock Him. The next time you are given a choice to forgive and be tolerant, remember the forgiveness and tolerance our Lord affords us. With these first two gifts in mind, let us move onto the next two – giving your heart and service.
What does it mean, “Christmas gift suggestions: . . . To a friend, your heart.” – to give your heart? With great wisdom, the Bible offers many insights into the heart, our hearts. In Psalm 51:10 NIV, King David is praying to the Lord asking Him to “create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” In this verse, we see David asking for a ‘pure heart’ meaning there must be other options for the condition of our heart besides being pure. In fact, if you continue reading all of Psalm 51, you will see that King David is asking the Lord to have mercy and forgive him of his sins in the time after David committed adultery with Bathsheba. However, even while David made mistakes and sinned against the Lord, David was declared by God as a man after His own heart. I believe this was due in part because no matter how much power, wealth or influence David had, he remained humble, faithful, and always came to the Lord to repent when he sinned.
While we will never be perfect, we can absolutely strive to have a pure heart towards God just as David did in the midst of sin and mistakes. The first step towards a pure heart is simple, we pray and ask our Lord for a pure heart, just as David did. In doing so, we are not only acknowledging that we are incapable of living a blameless life, we are also declaring our Lord’s place of authority in our own life. The focus of our heart should never be on how great our sin is; instead, the focus should be on how great our God is. No matter what sins you believe stand between you and God, remember King David and how God forgave and accepted him in the midst of his failures: in the same way, God will accept you and your heart if you give it to Him. By giving the Lord our hearts to mold in accordance with His word, we will have the love, peace, and kindness of God to then give to a friend, family member, or stranger.
Understanding service from a Godly perspective is relatively straight forward and exemplified in Matthew 20:28 NKJV where it says “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Similarly, as we strive to walk a Christ-centered life, we too should seek to serve others first – to prefer others and put their needs above our own. However, in serving others, let us keep the perspective of having a ‘pure heart’ and serve how the Bible says, through love.
Galatians 5:13 NLT says “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”
This verse should resonate with all of us here in the United States and abroad who live in far greater peace and freedom than much of the world enjoys. Just as Galatians says to “use your freedom to serve one another in love,” what excuse do we truly have to not do so? The answer is simple, we have no excuse. So, following Christmas into the New Year and always, begin to search for those opportunities where you can serve someone else first. If you find yourself in line at the grocery store and someone joins the line behind you with fewer items, allow them to go before you and check out first. If you are serving a customer who may not be having the best day, choose to serve them as God would – no matter how they treat you and regardless of what they might say.
Now that Christmas has passed, I challenge you to not treat Christmas as the only season when we think to be kind, to forgive, to give to charity, or to be an example. Choose today, and every day that follows, to share the love of Christ and give your heart and service to others.
Pastor Paul Foslien