November 10, 2008

“Make Room in Your Heartâ€?
by Pastor George Van Alstine

In his letter to the believers of the Corinthian church, Paul writes in very personal terms about his ministry. He gave 110%, but often felt unappreciated and disrespected. You will get a feel for this by reading 2 Corinthians 6:3-10.

After expressing himself so openly, Paul summarizes:
“We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you.â€?  (2 Corinthians 6:11)
He realizes how vulnerable he has become in sharing his feelings with them.

Then he turns the tables:
“There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours.â€? (verse 13)

Paul expands on this exhortation a few verses later:
“Make room in your hearts for us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.â€?   (7:12)
He seems to be reminding them that he has not attacked them in any way; yet, they seem to be defensively protecting themselves.

To me, the words that stand out are “Make room in your hearts for us.â€? This comes as a challenge to each of us whose hearts have been “enlargedâ€? by the Holy Spirit’s presence. We are capable of more love, more caring, more outreach, more giving, than we ever have allowed ourselves to express. We remain “restricted,â€? as we were before the grace of God entered our experience. Instead of passing his love on to others, we tend to hoard it for ourselves and our loved ones. When we could be gushing God’s grace all over spiritually thirsty persons around us, we ration out little drips, as we feel we can afford them.

With the holiday season before us, this is an ideal time to make more of yourself available to others. Is there someone in your circle of nearness who seems to be saying, “Make room in your heart for me?â€? Are you brushing this person off, pretending you don’t hear?

Maybe you’ve been “restrictingâ€? yourself. Maybe you’ve underestimated the love you have to give. Maybe there’s a whole new ministry of caring ahead of you.

Open your heart to others.  God has fully opened his heart to you, as the Christmas story vividly reminds us.