Summary: there is something more fundamental to becoming a person with a blessed life even than having a dream. It is something called, ‘heart!’ Obviously I’m not talking about the fist-sized knot of muscle in your chest that pumps the blood through your body!
Last week, my intent was to convince you from the Scripture, of this fact - “God loves to bless His children!” We defined blessings, not so much in terms of the normal measures of worldly success - being wealth, fame, or beauty. These are certainly desirable, but God loves to bless us with things of much greater value. Gordon MacDonald who writes – “God desires to pour out on people gracious and uncommon gifts: gifts might include personal affirmation, intimate relationship, extraordinary challenges to destiny, and remarkable energies that surpass the limits of we think of as normal....” The Life God Blesses, Nelson, 1994
I also encouraged you to position yourselves to receive God’s blessings. The picture is of a person standing under a waterfall - letting the refreshing of the water of life flow over them.
Lastly, I spoke of God’s covenants and observed that if we want to enjoy God’s blessings, if we want to prepare ourselves for prosperity - there is a choice to make today, tomorrow, until the day you are finally and fully transformed in the likeness of Jesus. That choice? To live in faith, expressed in obedience to the will of God.
The Heart of the One Whom God Prospers
Gordon MacDonald tells a parable about a man who built a yacht with the intention making it the grandest boat that ever sailed from the yacht club of which he was a member. This man would come to be known as a foolish man, not because he was unlikable, or cruel, or selfish, or even lazy. He was a charming guy, well liked by all who knew him. But he was destined to be called a fool. More on that as the story unfolds.
He named his yacht, Persona. He instructed the builders to make it look great! It was fitted with fine brass trim, colorful sails, and every imaginable convenience in the cabin. As it took shape, this foolish man could not help but anticipate the admiration that the Persona would evoke as she sailed into his club. The more he thought about that day, the more focused he become in making certain to add those touches that would make her look good. Because no one would ever see the underside of his yacht, this man was not much concerned about her keel, or even the design of the hull. Strangely to a reasonable man, he spent next to nothing on the hidden part of his yacht, even cutting corners in construction of the hull of the boat against the wishes of the designer.
That he was a fool was obvious when he said, “Why should I waste time and money on those things that are out of sight, below the water line?” He was so obsessed with making a great entrance, unlike any made before, he failed completely in thinking of the seaworthiness of his boat, the grand Persona.
As the construction of his yacht went forward, the crowds came to look at the wonder taking shape in the dry dock. She was a grand vessel - and many thought the man brilliant, and some even envied his accomplishments.
Finally the day came for the launch of the Persona. With great fanfare the dry dock was flooded, and the boat settled into the water. As she slide into the harbor the crowd admired her. All was well, until she reached the mouth of the harbor. Just then the wind kicked up, the waves grew in size, and the Personal seemed to falter. The boats sailing with her, pulled away, returning to the harbor, but the man who had built this grand yacht was so enthralled with his boat, he continued to sail towards the sea and into the growing storm.
Within minutes it was obvious she was in serious trouble, as she began to list and take on water as her seams opened. She wallowed in the waves, not righting herself as a sturdy and steady vessel should. As the crew evacuated the boat, it was obvious that even this small storm was about to take her down. Which it did in a mater of moments.
The inquiry into her destruction revealed the sad story of her foolish builder. All his efforts were focused on what could seen. His vanity kept him from investing in those things that would have made her a solid boat that could weather the storms. And so, the man who so craved the applause of his friends instead was remembered as the foolish man, who built a boat that could not sail! (The Life God Blesses, MacDonald)
Jesus makes the same point in a similar analogy in a passage which I read to you last Sunday.
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.