I am sure you have heard it, the revving of cars and motorcycles hitting the streets. Spring brings renewal and we all are excited about stepping out and showing off what was in hibernation all winter. We polish off the winter dust and make them nice and pretty. What you cannot see from the outside is what really matters. It is what is in your heart that matters. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Spring, the world races out of hibernation, attempting to put on a dazzling show of beauty. But they say beauty is only skin deep. The question is; it looks nice, but does it move? The same can be said for people, there are those of us who look the part, dress the right way, look and smell good, but when it is time to help people through the challenges of life they shrink into the background.
That is one of the most difficult challenges we face, are we willing to step up to the plate, get down on the ground, alongside someone who has fallen and help someone when they need it. Life isn’t always neat and clean; it can get messy.
You hear it many times, “call if I can help” but do we really mean that? For some it does, we know the folks we can count on at 2am to come and help us. We know the ones that will walk alongside when we need someone to lean on. Those are the folks that understand what it means to love unconditionally.
Jesus showed that love to us; when we didn’t deserve it He died for us. Now for a good man someone might dare to die, but for a sinner? We find out our true character when we run the race of life. We find out who the folks we can count on are when we are faced with situations that overwhelm us.
I am reminded of the parable Jesus shared about the sheep and the goats. The passage is found in Matthew’s Gospel,
Matthew 25:31- 46; NLT; “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Funny thing about goats, they leave a trail of destruction. They devour anything and everything. If left alone, nothing is safe. It is a reminder to us that there are only two choices, only two options. No matter how good we think we are, we just may be a goat.
Like I said there are only two choices; only two true motives in this world; we can be motivated to please ourselves or we can be motivated to do what is right in the eyes of God. We only have the motive to please God if the Holy Spirit is present in our heart. It matters what is in our heart.
Many people do good things and help others but with the wrong motives. Take a look around and see how many are motivated to do good because of the recognition they receive; because of the compliments they get. We all enjoy praise from others, but if that is our only motive for doing something our heart is in the wrong place.
With the new season we have an opportunity to start things again; we can choose a different path. Maybe we need to recondition our heart to be in tune with God’s heart. Maybe it is time we let Him have control over the choices we make.
Christ made a choice that cost him his life; not for the honor of men, but out of obedience to God the Father. My hope and prayer is that we are willing to do the same. We will choose to be sheep. We will pay attention to the needs of others and make provision for their needs. We will reflect the grace God has shown us.
When the day comes and we stand before God will we be sheep or goats? What is in our heart?
It isn’t as complicated as some would lead you to believe. In His word God explains it this way;
Romans 10:9-10; NLT; If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
As Christ explained in the Parable; when we have compassion, empathy and extend grace to others, we reveal what is in our heart, we openly declare our faith. Do we believe? Do we openly show that to others? Are we motivated to honor God? What is in our heart?