The Heart Of Man
The Bible often speaks of the heart of man. In one sense the heart is the body organ that pumps blood throughout the body. The term heart is also used in another sense within the writings of God. In this case the word heart is used in a figurative sense for the feelings, the will and even the intellect of man. It would be the mind, the inner person, the entire disposition of the inner person that God can discern. It would involve the desires, the feelings, the affections, the passions and impulses of man. It would be our understanding and our wisdom. The heart would be the source of all actions. Our will, our aims, our principles, or thoughts and our intellect would originate within our heart. The very essence of our character is maintained in our heart- what we think, what we say, what we do- is controlled by our heart. We must also understand that the heart is receptive to the influences both from the outer world and from God himself.
God's word tells us that one can have a willing heart. A willing heart is having an attitude of heart which consents or agrees- often readily and cheerfully- to a course of action. It carries with it the meaning of being compelled. It would be a free and voluntary desire of the heart to give of oneself or of one's resources to the service of the Lord. Of course we know that God created us with the ability to choose in our actions what we do based upon or thought and desire. This is the idea behind man being a free moral agent. You can choose to do something or you can choose not to do something. It all depends upon what your desire is in the matter. Your desire will dictate your course of action.
One of the best places recorded in scripture of showing this concept of a willing heart is found in Exodus chapter 35. Moses has received the instructions from Jehovah to construct the tabernacle along with all its furnishings. In verse 4 Moses said "This is the thing which the Lord has commanded". Here is what Moses is going to relay on to the people concerning the construction of the place for worship to Jehovah. The instruction is given in verse 5 "Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the Lord’s contribution". Notice that the Lord does not force anyone in the instruction of which He has commanded. "Whoever is of a willing heart" implies a choice of attitude within a person. It would require an attitude which consents or agrees to this course of action of bringing their contribution. Those who did not consent or agree to this action of bringing a contribution then would have an unwilling heart. Now remember that it is not the case of not having the material items for the contribution because Jehovah had the children of Israel receive from the Egyptians all manner of items when they departed from Egypt resulting in great wealth. It is simply a matter of choosing not to give therefore having an unwilling heart. A willing heart within an individual would produce the course of action as stated in verse 5 "let him bring it as the Lord’s contribution".
We see this action of a willing heart in verse 21 " Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution". Again we see in this verse implying a choice made within the heart of an individual. First the thought agreeing or consenting to a course of action. An attitude of "yes, I want to do this" and therefore carrying out the action. Their heart stirred them and their heart moved them. The exact opposite of this would be an unwilling heart where they were not stirred nor moved to be compelled or consenting to the action.
We see in verse 22 what a willing heart produced. "Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought". They were convicted in their heart to pursue the course of action being asked or presented to them. Again we see this verse showing us a choice between those who agreed and those who did not agree. We see here the concept of both a willing heart and an unwilling heart.
In verse 29 we find recorded "all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the Lord had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the Lord". The thoughts of their mind moved them- made them willing, The love for God is what moved or stirred up their mind to produce this action.
You and I will have one or the other in our attitude- a willing heart or an unwilling heart. We see in the world around us those who have an unwilling heart in the obedience to the gospel message. It is sad to say but we also see children of God having an unwilling heart in certain matters. When Christians say "I am not going to..." or "I will not..." in matters concerning their Christian responsibilities to God or fellow brothers and sisters in Christ it shows an attitude of an unwilling heart. When a Christian refuses to sit down with another Christian to discuss Biblical matters then a choice has been made to have an unwilling heart. May we ever be on guard against this type of attitude in our Christian character.
- Larry Bumgardner