Assessing Hearts

My last two posts were related to job interviews and as I type these words I am flying to interview several additional candidates. This brings me to the realization that this is the sixth week in a row that my top priority at work has been in the assessment of people in order to build a strong team.

My mom recommended praying prior to each interview, for God’s wisdom and guidance in making decisions on each candidate. In doing this, I felt better prepared for the conversation, more spiritually aligned with my creator and had the reminder that these conversations were not about me. That was terrific advice, thanks mom, I love you!

In today’s reading of Luke 24, I observed Jesus assessing hearts for fears and disbelief. Like trying to identify the right candidate through understanding their hearts and motives, Jesus is assessing our hearts for fears, disbelief and motives. Are we living for him or for ourselves? What would Jesus say about your heart right now? Are you in?

After reading this chapter several times I thought about the priorities of Jesus immediately following the resurrection. I want to be more like Jesus, so I wonder what did he do and what can/should we do to be more like him?

Upon rising from the dead, the most important event in human history, Jesus continues to reveal his humanity as well as his lordship over all, death and life. Let’s learn from him:

  1. He appeared to two followers but they did not recognize him. Where is Jesus engaging us but we are failing to recognize him? He is in every moment of every story of our lives. Let us acknowledge and thank him for his presence, for not giving up on us, for not letting us down.
  2. And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27) He reminded them of the fulfilment of scripture concerning the Christ. He said who he was, what he did, and why he did it. Let us not take this lightly. He died to give us life eternal.
  3. He broke bread with them, asking a blessing. Communion and prayer, spending time with the people he cared about. Are we intentional in our meals with believers and future-believers? Do we invite Jesus into the conversation?
  4. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. (Luke 24:31a) In what ways do we “recognize” Jesus as we partake in Holy Communion? In what ways are our eyes closed to him right now?
  5. He reveals himself again, offering peace. As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” (Luke 24:36) We should always expect Jesus to show up in our lives, don’t doubt him, he’s there. He wants us to have the fruits of the spirit, with peace being one of them. And I cannot help but laugh a little bit wondering if Jesus intentionally tried to scare them.
  6. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? (Luke 24:38) He assessed their innermost thoughts, addressing their concerns and doubts. It is shameful how often my first response in times of trouble was more about me and my own strength (or lack thereof) than looking to God. What is eating at you right now that you’ve not given up to him?
  7. Jesus desired food. Was he hungry or did he do this to prove his body was real? Will we be hungry for food in Heaven or will it just be a pleasure to enjoy, to break bread with our brothers and sisters? Who cooks the food in Heaven and where does it come from?
  8. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45) How often do we read the scriptures but do not understand? We should pray for The Holy Spirit to supernaturally help us understand. If the disciples didn’t understand but received power to do so, it would make sense that the same would be true for us.
  9. He gives them their mission, the great commission: and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47) What a beautiful verse:
    • It proclaims forgiveness through repentance. I’ve done a lot of sinning and I need forgiveness.
    • It is a leadership statement. Jesus is clearly leading his followers, giving their mission and priority. His example is a leadership lesson for us. Go tell it on the mountain!
    • It is a reminder that this is a gift for all who will accept it, and it is critical that we share with those who do not yet believe.
  10. Jesus told his disciples to wait. While he gave them direction, he wanted them to wait for his timing and likewise we should as well. Praying for God’s will, that we seek his timing and not our own.

May you on this day be filled with the peace that comes only from our lord and savior Jesus Christ.