MONDAY MEDITATION: Soft Hearts, Open Hands (March 2, 2020)

If there are some poor persons among you…don’t be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward your poor fellow Israelites. To the contrary! Open your hand wide to them. You must generously lend them whatever they need. — Deuteronomy 15:7-8

What striking contrasts. “Hard-hearted” vs. soft-hearted. “Tightfisted” vs. open-handed.

Which do we choose to be?

Hard-hearted/tightfisted was the characteristic of the people Moses was talking to. They schemed to give as little as possible to help the needy among them. Read further in Deuteronomy 15 and you’ll see their thinking: “The year of debt cancellation is coming. We’ll be helpful then. No need to be generous to these people now.”

How miserable, Scrooge-like it is to go through life hard and closed like this. Calculating, fearful, isolated, scarcity-driven.

Moses challenges his listeners to a way of life that Jesus would live vividly. Who are the needy among you? The poor, the persecuted, the marginalized? Wherever they were, there you’d find Jesus. He lived to give, because of a soft heart and an open hand.

I have a friend in San Francisco, Father River Damien Sims. His ministry is to the city’s street people. He writes regularly about connecting with those unseen by mainstream society. By freely entering into their world, he shares their pain but also embodies to them a hope that only comes from soft-hearted, open-handed unconditional love. He demonstrates to them that God does, indeed, hear their cries.

Jesus compels us to follow River’s lead, wherever that will play out in our particular setting. It’s a perpetual Lenten discipline: In what specific way, and to what specific person, will I soften my heart and open my hand?

There’s always a sacrifice involved in such love. I suppose that’s a small price to pay for the life that Jesus offers.

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BOOK OF THE MONTH

Each month I highlight a book I’ve found interesting and helpful. The one for March is Paul Wallace’s Love and Quasars: An Astrophysicist Reconciles Faith and Science.

1 thought on “MONDAY MEDITATION: Soft Hearts, Open Hands (March 2, 2020)”

  1. Amen! Jesus who breaks our “hearts of stone” calls us into a hurting, needy world, to share His love. (Mother Teresa was a great example.)

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