A young man was proud of his healthy and beautiful heart. One day, standing in the middle of the town, he proclaimed that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered to have a look at his heart. His heart was smooth, shiny, and looked very healthy. Indeed, the man had the most beautiful heart in the valley, everyone agreed. The proud young man felt delighted and boasted his perfect which everyone admired. Suddenly, a voice from the crowd said, “Your heart is not as beautiful as mine.”The young man searched for the person behind the voice and an old man appeared in front of him.
“Show us your heart if you believe you have a more beautiful heart than mine”, said the young man. The old man carefully showed his heart. The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. The heart was beating strongly and healthily, but it was not smooth and shiny as the young man’s heart. Instead, it had scars all over it. It had pieces where some pieces of the heart had been removed and other pieces were put in. The other pieces didn’t fit perfectly and there were several uneven edges. In some places, there were deep gouges where some pieces were missing. The crowd laughed at the old man’s heart. “How can he claim that he has the most beautiful heart when it is all scared and uneven”, they thought.
The young man looked at the old man’s heart and laughed. “You must be kidding. Compare your heart and mine. My heart looks perfect and smooth, and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes, your heart looks perfect, but I would never trade your heart with mine”, said the old man. “Every scar in my heart represents a person to whom I have given my love. I tear a piece of my heart and give to them. Often, my loved one gives me back a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart. Since everyone loves each other in a different way, their piece of heart may not perfectly fit my heart, so you can see some rough edges. These scars and rough edges remind me of the love we shared”, he continued.
“Sometimes I would give a piece of my heart, but the other person may not return of their heart to me. These are the empty gouges. Although these gouges are painful, these remind me of the love I have for these people, too. So, do you now see what a true beauty my heart is?”, asked the old man.
The young man and the crowd stood silently with tears running down their cheeks. The young man walked to the old man, reached into his perfect and beautiful heart, ripped a piece out of it, and offered it to the man with trembling hands.
The old man gratefully received the offering, placed it in his heart, and then took a piece from his old heart and placed it in the young man’s heart.
The young man looked at his heart, it did not look shiny and smooth like it used to. But, it was now more beautiful because he could feel the love from the old man’s heart flowing into his.
This short story is almost similar to my short life story. When I was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, I shared my love – the agape love that I received from our Lord Jesus Christ to one of the Marine in my platoon.
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- In the Bible, book of Matthew 6:20-21 says, “20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
How does a person store his treasures in heaven? Storing treasures in heaven includes, but is not limited to, tithing our money. It is also accomplished through bringing others to our Lord Jesus Christ and all acts of obedience to God. That “treasure” is the eternal value of whatever we accomplish on earth. Acts of obedience to God, laid up in heaven, are not susceptible to decay, destruction, or theft. Nothing can affect or change them; they are eternal. The final sentence points out the significance of our Lord Jesus Christ’s words: “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” Wherever our focus lies, whatever occupies our thoughts and our time – that is our “treasure.” Our Lord Jesus Christ contrasted heavenly values with earthly values when He explained that our first loyalty should be to those things that do not fade, cannot be stolen or used up, and never wear out. He calls for a decision that allows us to live contentedly with whatever we have because we have chosen what is eternal and lasting.
Luke 6:45 says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ reminded His listeners that their deeds and speech (what they say) would reveal their true underlying beliefs, attitudes, and motivations. The good impressions people try to make cannot last if their hearts are deceptive. What is in the heart will come out in a person’s speech and behavior.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
The heart, because it is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects life and character (Matthew 12:35; 15:19), must be carefully guarded and protected from evil (Philippians 4:8). The heart, like a spring, is to be valued (Joshua 15:13-19; Judges 1:11-15), protected (Genesis 29:2; Exodus 2:17; 2 Chronicles 32:30), and not polluted (2 Kings 2:19.).
- Proverbs 27:19 says, “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.”
Our face is reflected accurately in clean calm water. So a man’s or woman’s heart mirrors who he or she really is.