Summary: Discover how to protect our heart and the heart of the next generation against the deceptions of the world.

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The journey down the yellow brick road seemed pretty safe at the beginning for Dorothy. But we know from the story of The Wizard of Oz that the bright yellow brick road would intersect with an evil witch, dangerous flying animals and personal fears that must be overcome.

One of the characters In the Wizard of Oz that Dorothy meets is the Tin Woodman. The original fairy tale provides some detail that the movie left out. The Tin Woodman had once been a REAL man who had been in love with a beautiful Munchkin maiden. It was his dream to marry her once he could earn enough money to build them a cottage in the woods. But the Wicked Witch hated his love and she cast spells upon the man that caused him injury, so that one by one his limbs needed to be replaced with artificial ones, made of tin. With a heart of love and arms that never tired, it seemed that victory was surely his.

Listen to the words that writer L. Frank Baum put into the mouth of the Tin Woodman.

“I thought I had beaten the Wicked Witch then, and I worked harder than ever; but I little knew how cruel my enemy could be. She thought of a new way to kill my love for the beautiful Munchkin maiden, and made my ax slip again, so that is cut right through my body, splitting it into two halves. Once more the tinner came to my help and made me a body of tin. Fastening my tin arms and legs and head to it, by means of joints, so that I could move around as well as ever. But alas! I now had no heart, so that I lost all my love for the Munchkin girl, and did not care whether I married her or not…”

The Tin Woodman then tells how he got caught in a rainstorm without his oil can and his joints rusted so that he could not move. A year passed before Dorothy finds him. When he can speak again he tells Dorothy.

“It was a terrible thing to undergo, but during the year I stood there I had time to think that the greatest loss I had known was the loss of my heart. While I was in love I was the happiest man on earth, but no one can love who has not a heart, and so I am resolved to ask Oz to give me one. If he does, I will go back to the Munchkin maiden and marry her.”

Both Dorothy and the Scarecrow had been greatly interested in the story of the Tin Woodman, and now they knew why he was so anxious to get a new heart. “All the same,” said the Scarecrow, “I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.” “I shall take the heart,” returned the Tim Woodman; “for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”

In 2 Timothy 3:1-9 Paul is going to describe life during the last days and the threat to our hearts and the happiest God desires for us. Let me warn you now…it is not pretty. I believe the challenge from this passage is that we must learn to protect our hearts and the hearts of the next generation. It warns us that along the yellow brick road there is an enemy roaming about who is seeking to kill our heart for God, steal the truth from our minds and end the happiest God intended for us.

Paul is shooting a warning shot across our spiritual bow so that we will protect ourselves and the next generation from the values, behaviors and beliefs of the world and those who would seek to push these values, behaviors and beliefs on us.

Let me share a personal word to put this challenge in perspective. As you know I have a wonderful wife and two great sons. I love them more than I can effectively communicate. For the most part, although some would disagree, I am pretty level headed and self-controlled in my responses to people and life. But let me tell you something honestly, if someone came around my house and sought to harm my sons or my wife they will discover really quickly that the path is blocked and any further attempts will be met with greater force. That’s a nice sugar coated way of saying I would be ticked and I am going to bring it. I’ll let you in on something else about me and my family. If anyone comes around seeking to harm their hearts and steal the truth from them, I will come with the same energy as if they were in physical danger because I do not want them to become Tin Woodman.

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