Are you putting your heart in?

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist

Do you believe being a serious Christian is all about heart? God’s Word teaches it; His Son, Jesus, lived it. So, we should strive to be serious Christians with passion and purpose.

Nehemiah 9 relates that love will show up in our hearts and homes when we are serious about God. Chapter 37 declares putting the Lord first and glorifying Christ makes us a strong witness, while getting caught up in the world’s ‘grey areas’ weakens our witness.

II Chronicles 16:9 says, “Make God the cornerstone of your heart and home”! Ephesians 3:16 reminds us to be anchored in God’s love. Philippians 4:8 teaches “…brothers, whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things…and the God of peace will be with you.” Loving the Lord with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself remain top priority in God’s eyes! What about yours and mine? Have our hearts been calloused by troubles and time? Do we seldom check in with the Great Physician, or daily cleanse hearts and keep them filled with hope, joy, peace, kindness, humility, and love?

Ponder the seriousness of living closely connected to Christ with peace and joy or living lukewarm with little connection and much confusion and conflict? Are we wonderful or weary witnesses for Christ? Do others see Jesus in you, in me? Are we serious Christians sharing His love softly and tenderly or serious Christians serving apathetically and sporadically? Pause to ponder!

Reflection rewinds hearts of His children shining with sweet, sour, or no serious service for our Savior. Being still with computer in lap and tears in eyes, I pause to ponder. I think of Lot’s family fleeing from their sin infested homeland when finding serious Christians seemed impossible. Thoughts of America sinking in sin, from sea to shining sea, with no peaceful shores surfaced. Now is the time for serious Christians with loving hearts to rise up and shine.

Recently, God showed loving hearts of three precious people during the planning, playing, and the ‘putting it all into perspective’ post duties of Tim’s Gift Hope Project Golf Tournament. Their acts of love helped me realize God Really Does Speak To Us and Will Provide When We Trust and Obey.

Person No. 1 – a seasoned serious Christian who greeted me when I entered a business in Clinton seeking a gift for the golf tournament. I left the letter for the owner and made my way to the door, only to be called back by the seasoned Christian. I waited while other customers were helped and reflected on my morning drive around town seeking sponsors for the golf tournament and having a little talk with Jesus. I told Him how hard it is to go to people for help, knowing how many times local business owners and friends are asked to assist with worthy causes. My pause and ponder moments were interrupted when the sweet, seasoned Christian called me to the back of the store. In that very place, there was quite enough love shared to see God’s handiwork. I was handed a $100 bill, a hug, and a much needed message. The seasoned Christian shared, “This morning in my prayer time, I asked God to show me where I was to plant this seed today. When you walked in the door, I knew it was meant for Tim’s Gift.” Wiping tears and receiving the Word, I knew God was teaching me to trust Him to take care of things as He does for the sparrows. I am still in awe of God’s timing and teaching on that hot September morning when His precious child gave a loving gift per His instructions.

Person No. 2 – a Chinese college student spending two weeks in our city with a family of sweet, serious Christians. Sheng Le Le came to the Golf Tournament with Chris Embler, who is hosting and helping him experience real American life. Sheng Le Le was full of questions about the love and hospitality shown to him while visiting local farms, businesses, churches, and our golf tournament. He was fascinated by the silent auction and asked for help to get gifts for The Embler’s four children. He told how things were different in his country. One must repay acts of kindness in China. He could not comprehend Jesus’ love that transends all understanding and expects no pay back. The thrill of watching this young man, eager to learn more about Jesus and HIs love, bid and buy gifts for his host family’s children was unspeakable. Tears of joy filled many people’s eyes as Sheng Le Le’s childlike, newfound faith was being established as God worked through seasoned, serious Christians with loving hearts. What happened next as golfers packed up and volunteers cleaned up showed us there was quite enough love as His sweet Spirit swept through that place and touched hearts with His amazing grace. Sheng Le Le’s stories will enlighten our views on how to pray and love like Jesus and be shared in His perfect timing.

Person No. 3 – a sweet, serious Christian who won the half and half drawing at the Golf Tournament. With people paying close attention to their ticket numbers, Honeycutt’s name was called to win $995.47. We contacted Tony and shared the good news. When Tony entered Tim’s Gift to receive his gift, we greeted one another joyfully. Being friends since childhood, we took time to spin a few yarns before I handed him the envelope holding his money. Tony’s grin lit up the room as he handed the money back to me with these words, “I see the good things you all do for people and I can’t be here to help, so take this money and help wherever it is needed. I thought about it and giving it back is what I want to do.”

Tony gave back with a sweet, loving spirit that was surely pleasing to God and will help us help others. God sent Tony to help me heal in ways I didn’t even know was needed, but most of all to reinforce the power of generous giving with a loving heart. We hugged, prayed, and he promised to take his precious wife (my oldie- goldie girlfriend) out to dinner with the $100.00 I gave to him that had been given to me. That’s the way it is with God’s love once you’ve experienced it. The world will know, for love will show when we pass it on!

I watched Tony walk to his car as I locked the door at Tim’s Gift. As he drove away, I paused to ponder! Sitting at my desk, I watched cars whiz by as darkness fell across our city. My heart was bursting at the seams while recounting the blessings received from serious, loving Christians God put in my path while planning and putting on Tim’s Gift Golf Tournament. Talking with Jesus and telling Him I was sorry for stressing about things and trying to do them myself – knowing He promises to take care of us and send what we need – made me feel clean as a whistle and closely connected.

Cleaning my desk and writing ‘to do’ notes on my calendar, I closed the Golf Notebook my sister organized to help me get through golf tournaments. A sense of peace and promise rose inside. Serious Christians, devoted volunteers, sponsors, supporters, golfers, and a young man seeking Jesus were sent to show me there is wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb. I drove home silently and sweetly basking in His love and thanking Him over and over for serious Christians serving with passion and purpose.

By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist

Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.

Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.