From the heart

Matthew 15:10-20
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ ” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” 15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”

Let us pray…

Gracious and loving God, you call us to good works.
   You call us to proclaim your glory,
   you call us to serve others,
   you call us to worship you.

But much of what we do, we do in order to receive praise from people.
   We deliver meals to the hungry ~ and people thank us.
   We teach Sunday school ~ and parents are appreciative.
   We serve on the church council ~ and people are thrilled.
   We serve in the community ~ and stories are written about our kind hearts.
   We live “biblical” lives ~ and people think we are people of faith.

But you alone know our hearts.  You know our intentions.  You know our motives.  You see what others do not see.  You know what others do not know.  And what matters more than praise from people is the fact that Jesus went to the cross:
Was beaten
Falsely accused
Spat upon
Beaten some more
Had nails pounded into his body
Hung in agony
And slowly died…and then won the final victory through his resurrection.


Because of his great love for us.

May all that we do go to show this love.  May our good works point to the cross and what Jesus did there.  May our hearts reflect the praise of this world and proclaim your goodness and grace.  Heal and change our hearts so that you and you alone are praised, worshiped and glorified.  For you are indeed worthy.  Through Jesus Christ, your dear Son and our Lord, I pray, Amen!