What’s in Your Heart?
Have you seen the commercial with the tagline that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” It implies that what’s in your wallet can determine how safe you are—the right credit card can save your life.
A better question to a Christian is, “What’s in your heart?” The right answer to that question can determine your eternal safety.
How do we know what’s in our hearts? The Bible says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
Because we live in a money-centric culture, we tend to think of generosity only as a question of reaching into our wallets. But as with all character traits, generosity is a trait of the heart; and so it can find expression in many ways, including how you share your time, your energy, and your possessions. When God guides your heart, it changes your love for others and your response to their needs. And you will always find a way to respond.
If you have money in your pocket, you give money. If you have no money but there’s food in your home, you give food. If there’s no food in your home but ideas in your mind, you give helping words. If there are no words in your mouth but love in your heart, you offer your heart itself.
Everyone is familiar with the saying “it is better to give than receive,” but few understand the meaning behind this powerful principle.
Science has proven this notion. “You give from the heart and… it satisfies your brain,” says Jordan Grafman, chief of the Cognitive Neuroscience Section of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a division of the National Institute of Health.
“The same regions of the brain that are associated with the reward and the good feeling you have when you get something yourself, like money, were the same areas that were activated when you give. That surprised us,” says Grafman. “And not only were the same areas involved, but in fact they were more activated when you give than when you receive.”
I found this study fascinating. It tells me that our Lord created in His children something organic to keep us from becoming too selfish, too self-absorbed. Why?
“There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Savior, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others… As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect” (Christ Object Lessons, p. 69).
It isn’t enough just to give money or an object; God wants us to give our hearts. Wrapped up in our hearts are the inner qualities that can adorn our generosity. Will your gift be just a thing, or will it be accompanied by empathy, commitment, and love? When you give your heart to God, He changes an element of yourself. With each act of generosity, He makes you into a more giving person. And when God changes your heart, He can use you to change the world around you.
Ultimately, the reward we reap for God-inspired generosity in time, service, money and love is the presence of God dwelling in our hearts. What could lead to a richer, more abundant life than to have “God with us” throughout eternity?