Word of the Month

What do you have your heart set on?

September 2005

We live in a time of many offers, also in the spiritual domain. And it is a sign of our time that many people no longer hunger for the word of God. This not only applies outside of God's work, but unfortunately also to many from the ranks of God's children. Here and there we can see that for some the altar is no longer the most important place between heaven and earth, the place of reconciliation with God, the meeting point with our loved ones from the beyond, or the place where the word of life flows and new powers are imparted to us.

Although they attend the services, their hearts are filled with other things. There is no more room in their hearts for God's word. It no longer penetrates the depths of the soul, no longer has any effect. Instead, God's word runs over the top of their hearts as though it were a container filled to the brim with water. And if the word of God is no longer absorbed, we can no longer recognise God's works, deeds, and acts, and as a result we become feeble. For this reason let us see to it that our hearts remain receptive to the word of God.

Let us take a few moments before each divine service to collect ourselves, to gather our thoughts and find peace in the restlessness of daily life. We will not succeed at this if we read the paper, lose ourselves in a book, or watch a television programme before the start of the service, and then rush to church. We will not be able to absorb God's word in this condition. In order to do this we need to take some time for introspection.

In Revelation the Lord tells the congregation of Laodicea: "You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'" (Revelation 3:17)! This describes a condition where the heart is full to the brim and everything added to it runs over! The word of God can no longer be absorbed and will be ineffective. Hence the admonition: "…and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked." In antiquity Laodicea was a prosperous commercial centre noted for banking, garments, and ophthalmology. There is no question that the gold, fabric, and medicine had a justifiable purpose: people had to earn their living, clothe themselves, and be healed. But the heart should not have been totally overflowing with earthly matters. There should have been room for the offer of God. That is why the Lord said: "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, … and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see" (Revelation 3:18).

We are not forbidden to have earthly goods and possessions. Poverty does not guarantee salvation and wealth does not lead to perdition. But it is extremely unhealthy and damaging to our souls if we have our hearts set on these things. For this reason let us be careful with that which fills our souls. Let us make room for God's word and grace. Then we will be rich indeed!

(From a divine service by Chief Apostle Fehr)