Is the soil of your heart pliable or parched?
AUGUST 29, 2023
Matt Heard: Is the soil of your heart pliable or parched? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
If you’ve suffered too long under a do more, try harder religion, Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free. Steve invited Matt Heard to teach us all this week. Matt is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the author of Life with a capital L.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. And greetings to all of you. If you didn’t join us yesterday, I’m glad you’re back in God’s will. And what we did is started going through just this week long teaching series. We’re entitling it Calibrate: Sitting at the Feet of Jesus. And that’s based on that interaction that Jesus had with both Mary and Martha in Luke chapter 10: verse 38. I know you memorized it if you listened to it yesterday, but if you didn’t, listen to it again.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him and she had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made and she came to him and she asked, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me. Martha, Martha, the Lord answered. You’re worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed are indeed only one. And Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.
To calibrate is what the ships long ago would do when they had more normal types of compasses, not the electronic GPS devices. And they would go into a quiet harbor and get everything still and they’d calibrate their compass. And as we’re diving into this school year, you know, it’s amazing, isn’t it? Since we’re five years old, once the summer’s done, we get into that school mode, even if we haven’t been in school in decades and the to do lists begin to pile up. And so, what we’re doing is talking about, Hey, before we throw the harpoon of our career or our relationships. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, maybe refer to yesterday where we talked about Melville’s statement.
That the harpooners of this world should throw their harpoons, not out of exhaustion, but out of stillness.
And for us to really thrive and live our lives, it needs to come from a posture. of being still and being still with a real purpose in mind. So, we’re looking at these, this whole notion of sitting at the feet of Jesus, calibrating what’s involved. Yesterday we talked about stillness. Today we’re going to talk about submission. Now, if you go back to that text, there’s a phrase in there that we Westerners just kind of blow by and we don’t really think about it. It says that Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said, Martha’s sister Mary was sitting at his feet. Now, you combine the ancient near Eastern culture with what sitting at someone’s feet meant. It wasn’t having to do with they didn’t have enough couches. There was a posture being demonstrated when she was sitting at his feet. Now, you combine that with who Jesus is and who Mary knew Jesus to be. That’s a posture of submission before him, to say, Jesus, I’m here and I’m here to be pliable. I’ve mentioned to you guys before, about my Play-Doh that I have on my office. And as I was kind of thinking about this, I grabbed, I have two of these Play-Doh little containers and I open them every now and then when I need to get a Play-Doh high and one of them gets, it gives me that, the other one doesn’t,. You know, one of them, you can’t hear it at all, can you on radio? This is always fun to do on radio, but the other one, you hear that? That’s some Play Doh that I left out for a while. And the reason I have these on my shelf, it just reminds me, which describes the posture of my heart. Am I pliable, am I malleable before him or is my heart resistant? You know, Hosea chapter 10; verse 12 says.
Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love.
I love that. Reap the fruit. You’re loved with an, in an unfailing way by God, but are you reaping the fruit of it? You need to break up your unplowed ground, for it’s time to seek the Lord until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. Again, thinking of what you could hear, let your imagination go to a handful of seed being thrown on a patch of hard, dry, parched ground. You know, the kind that’s cracking. You can hear it, hear it clatter. And then think of seed being thrown on to some soft, malleable soil that’s ready for the seed. That kind of brings back that image of Jesus in his parable of the soil and the seeds. But my heart is one or the other. It’s the soft, malleable soil and the presence of Jesus and what he’s wanting to do and how he’s wanting to shape me or it’s resistant. And a lot of times when we do our religious things and you hear people talk about doing devotions, drives me bananas when I hear that because it’s so much more than just doing devotions where we’re just kind of doing a checklist. It’s not, Hey, I’ve, I’ve got my agenda. Okay. Let me read this passage of Scripture for today. No, it’s, I’ve got a lot on my list today. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. I’ve got a harpoon to throw. I’ve got a career to excel at, relationships to prioritize, recreation to experience, service to participate in, the list goes on and on. But, in the midst of that, I want to be still, and I want to be submitted. I want my heart to be this pliable, moldable presence before Jesus to say, okay, shape me. And it looks, that submission looks, has a number of different faces to it. Humility would probably be the first on the list. And humility is not something that I drum up before God. It’s a response to who he is. It’s a response to his greatness. And you go through the gospel accounts of people’s responses to Jesus. At one time, I read an article by a guy named Don Everts, and he brought all these passages up. Matthew 9:18.
While Jesus was saying this, the synagogue leader came and knelt before him.
Mark chapter 5: verse 6.
When the demoniac saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.
Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at Jesus’ feet and trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.
Do you notice a theme there? There’s a big difference between Jesus being on my resume and me saying, yeah, I’ve got a religious component to my life and him being the axis around which my life turns. And so, when I’m calibrating in a true sense of the word, I’m being still with a posture of submission, where I’m saying, Jesus, you’re my axis. And, but it’s not just a humility of response to his greatness, the one who’s governing the number of heartbeats in my chest and the number of breaths that I’ve got left in my lungs and the number of hairs on my head. But it’s this one who loves me and wants to lavish grace on me. Have I responded in submission to the way that he’s working in my life? This whole notion of being receptive to his grace. Years ago, Nancy Spiegelberg wrote a poem, and one time I got her permission to use this in a book that I was writing.
Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup, uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better. I’d have come running with a bucket. Am I being still and then in submission, humbling myself before him, acknowledging he’s author and finisher, he’s the king, I’m not. But also the one who wants to lavish his grace on me. And then to be pliable in terms of what he wants to do, what he wants to accomplish in my life.
Francois Fenelon is a 17th century Roman Catholic Frenchman that has had an impact on me and says.
Tell God all that is in your heart as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains to a dear friend. Tell him your troubles that he may comfort you. Tell him your joys that he may sober them. Tell him your longings that he may purify them. Tell him your dislikes that he may help you to conquer them. Talk to him of your temptations that he may shield you from them. Show him the wounds of your heart that he may heal them. Lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved taste for evil, your instability. Tell him how self love makes you unjust to others and how vanity tempts you to be insincere and how pride disguises you to yourself and others. And if you thus pour out all your weaknesses and your needs and your troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. Blessed are they who attain such familiar unreserved dialogue with God.
So today, instead of coming to God with a to-do list, maybe it’s saying, God, what is your to-do list for me? And being still with a posture of submission. And joining Mary is you sitting at his feet. I’d encourage you to do that today. And as a result, I really do hope you’re able to thrive today to his glory.
Thank you Matt Heard. We are enjoying a full week of teaching from Matt about calibrating our lives by sitting at the feet of Jesus. And what a great illustration that our hearts need to be soft and malleable like Play-Doh. More good stuff for Matt tomorrow. Sure hope you will join us then. So, if you listen to this program, you may know about our weekly talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc. Well, recently on that show, we spoke with author and filmmaker Jared Brock. In that conversation, Jared shared that Jesus name was actually Yeshua, or in modern terms, Joshua, and well, from there it’s a pretty short trip to Josh, and in his new book, A God Named Josh, Jared Brock explores the surprising implications of a Savior who is both wholly God and wholly human. It’s a fantastic conversation. We’d love for you to hear it yourself. So, just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD with Jared. Or to mail your request, go to Keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Jared Brock. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving. You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now gift safely and securely through text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the instructions that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.