Building One Another

E. Stanley Ott

SOFTEN Vol 12 No 14

June 4, 2013

Dear Friend,

On Saturday morning I dug a hole in the backyard for a large tomato plant I’d picked up at a farmer's market, sprinkled in some fertilizer, and put in the plant. Thinking about it later I realized the ground I dug the hole in was very hard clay and that it would be difficult for growing roots to penetrate and to find nourishment in that soil.

So I dug out the tomato plant, made a larger hole, added some potting soil, and re-planted the tomato! The softer soil will make it much easier for the plant’s roots to grow and be fed.

Sometimes our own human hearts can be pretty hard and simply not open to the reality and presence of the God who loves us or to new ways of thinking. If arterial sclerosis is the hardening of the arteries then attitudinal sclerosis is the hardening of the attitudes. Scripture often refers to people as being “stiff-necked” which again suggests hearts that are simply closed to our Lord, closed to people.

The good news is that our Lord loves to melt human hearts. In speaking about restoring the nation of Israel we read, I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:19-20

Pray with me: “O Lord, where my heart is hard, brittle, and closed to you, closed to people and closed to your call on my life, I ask you, the Lord who loves me, to soften my heart. May I be more fully aware of your presence, of the people you have put into my life, and of the purpose you have for me.”  Amen.

With joy - E. Stanley Ott
Copyright 2013 E. Stanley Ott
*Scripture from the NRSV