Keep a Tender Heart
by Michael S. Tyrrell
May 25, 2021
Happy Tuesday, Wholetonians!
I was reading my Bible this morning in the book of Mark, chapters 6-8, and I came upon a couple of interesting statements about the condition of the heart.
In chapter 6, after the disciples have already seen Jesus perform a myriad of miracles, such as the little girl being raised from the dead in the previous chapter, Jesus, along with His disciples, is in the countryside preaching to a multitude of people. At the end of the day, Jesus tells his disciples to feed them. Basically, their answer is, “With what? All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish.”
So Jesus tells them to have everyone sit down in groups. He blesses the food and they distribute those loaves and fishes to over 5000 people. Everyone is full and they have leftovers!
That’s a BIG deal, don’t you think?
Later in the evening, Jesus tells them to get in the boat and head to the other side of the sea while He spends time alone in prayer. While crossing, the winds kick up and the disciples struggle to row the boat. Just then, they see Jesus walking on the sea about to pass them by. They all freak out, thinking it’s a ghost, and He has to reassure them that it’s Him, and to not be afraid. The scriptures go on to tell us that they were at a loss because…
“…they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” ~ Mark 6:52
Fast forward through chapter 7…more incredible healings and miracles, all witnessed by the disciples.
Now in chapter 8, there’s another crowd of about 4000 listening to Jesus preach and He again feeds them all with just seven loaves of bread and a few fish. Again, lots of leftovers.
Later, Jesus, teaching His disciples, warns them about spiritual hypocrisy with an anecdote about the pharisees. They misunderstand and think He is reprimanding them for not having brought enough bread with them to feed the crowd.
Jesus asks them, “Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?”
They saw incredible miracles every day with Jesus; they heard Him teach the scriptures with a wisdom far beyond that of any priest, prophet or pharisee. But somehow they failed to recognize, understand, and be in awe of God walking with them, because they hadn’t pondered everything they saw and heard in their hearts.
Jesus called this condition “hardness of heart.”
How often do we do this?
Every moment of every day is rife with God’s provision and answered prayers. When we don’t recognize the incredible acts of God and just roll past answered prayer or miraculous protection without acknowledging that God intervened and acted on our behalf, we expose the hardness of our hearts.
A hard heart is formed when we repeatedly witness God’s goodness and remain unfazed and unaffected, unimpressed, never pausing to ponder and thank Him. We become spoiled, taking Him and every blessing for granted. Even worse, we can become wise in our own eyes and start believing that we have created our own “good fortune.”
Do we remember instances when God worked in our lives in a mighty way only to let the moment pass?
I know I’m guilty of this. I often recognize the answers to “big prayers” but forget the simple “small” answers to prayer like our daily provision of food…just like Jesus’ disciples did.
Take time to examine your heart and keep it tender.
Michael S. Tyrrell
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