Jump Start # 2676
Matthew 22:37 “And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
I had a hymn stuck in my mind the other day. It’s interesting because I don’t remember singing that hymn in a long time. But it is one of things that just stays with you throughout the day. That’s one of the wonderful benefits of hymns and singing. “Near to the heart of God,” is the tune and expression that just kept rolling through my mind.
Things that are near and dear to us are close to our hearts.
Our families ought to be that way. We’d fight a bear for the sake of our families. We love them and we love being around them. I like the story of a lady who was looking for a seat on an airplane. When she saw an empty seat she’d ask the person next to it if they had any grandchildren. If they said, ‘yes,’ she kept going down the row. Finally, she found an empty seat and the person next to it didn’t have any grandchildren. She plopped her self down, took out her wallet and proceeded to show the person next to her each and every one of her grandchildren and all that they were doing. Love our families. We pray for them. We fuss over them. We want them to do right.
Our church ought to be this way. We are not strangers who happen to sit near each other every week. There is a bond and a love between us. We are fellow soldiers in the battle for right. We are fellow worshippers who love the Lord. We are in a fellow-ship together. The church is very much like a family. Some days you’d like to trade some away like they do in sports. We can annoy each other and some days irritate each other and even push the right buttons that can get us upset, just like at home, but these are our people. We love them. They encourage us, remind us, teach us, and help us. Where would we be without those wonderful people. They are near to our hearts.
God’s word is near to our hearts. For a moment, just think how many years you have poured over God’s word. And, just about each time you find little jewels and discoveries that you have never seen before. That Word has changed you and shaped you into a better person. It has lifted you up when you were worried, fearful and unsure. It has kicked you in the pants when you were sitting too close to the Devil. It’s challenged you, helped you and more than anything else, it has opened your eyes to your loving Savior. Death no longer scares you. The future has some certainty to it. And, this is because of what you have seen and learned through the Scriptures. You have a favorite passage. There is a story behind that and that is rich and meaningful to you.
The Lord is near to our hearts. The Lord, more than anyone or anything, has been there for us. He has blessed us, even when we forgot to thank Him. He has heard our prayers. He has seen our tears. He has walked with us through trials and tough times. He has forgiven you. His promises are dear to us. A day, often an hour, never passes without us giving some thought to the Lord. He’s been good to us is the absolute truth.
That hymn, ‘Near to the heart of God,’ is about finding that place, as the hymn states, of quiet rest, comfort sweet, and full release, where we can be close to God. And, this place isn’t necessarily a church building, and often, the church building is so full of people and noise and activity that it’s hard to find quiet, peace and rest. This place may be, as the Lord said, a closet, where we shut the world out and invite God in. It may be sitting on your back porch, listening to the morning song birds and just thinking about the Lord’s grace and love. It may be when we are taking a daily walk. The thoughts turn from our day and our schedules to the amazing God who loves us.
James said, “draw near to Me and I will draw near to you.” Near. Near to God’s heart. And, when we really focus upon those thoughts we find what really matters. Humble love, like a child or grandchild is what the Lord loves. I have seen this with my grandchildren. When they come, it’s not what new toys we have, but spending time with them. Taking a walk in the woods, picking up acorns, racing each other down a hill, sitting on the sidewalk and looking at a caterpillar. The sweet, innocent, pure love of a child that wants nothing more than to be near one that they love. That’s what God is after.
You and I get impressed with things that does not impress God. Got an old car that you restored? Get a few guys together and they can spend hours just looking at that car and talking car stuff. That’s like toys to God. He’d rather spend time with you than that.
Love sports? I do. I can talk about those Dodgers all day long. That doesn’t do much for the Lord. He’s not into baseball. He’s into you.
How about vacations? We love them. We love to talk about them. We love to show pictures of where we have been. For God it doesn’t mean that much. He made all beauty of the earth. He’s more interested in you. He invites you into the most intimate and sacred place you can ever be. More important than Ft. Knox, the Oval Office, Buckingham Palace, or the top secret meetings held across the world. God invites you to His heart. Near to the heart of God. Near to His heart. And, this place isn’t reserved for a select few. One doesn’t have to buy a ticket, nor stand in line, nor be limited to just a few brief moments. You can be near to God’s heart everyday. You can spend time with the most Holy as often as you want. He is never too busy for you. You are never too common or unimportant to Him.
Near to the heart of God…I envision just sitting down beside God. What a wonderful, wonderful blessing that is.
Near to the heart of God—you can find yourself there, if you choose.