In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth . . . And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.”
Bob Pierce used to say, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” As this happened in Pierce’s life, he acted, seeking to feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, and care for the orphan. In 1950, Bob Pierce’s God-inspired broken heart led him to found World Vision International, a Christian humanitarian organization that has touched millions of children and adults throughout the world.
Pierce’s desire to have his heart broken by the things that break God’s heart is inspiring and challenging. I pray that God would help me to have such a tender, vulnerable heart. As I reflect on the opening chapters of Genesis, I find myself asking for something similar, but even broader. I’m asking that my heart be moved by the things that move the heart of God. I want to care about what God cares about, to love what God loves, to value what God values, to delight in that which delights the heart of God.
This means, among other things, that I will care deeply about this world, its natural features and its creatures, including human beings. As we read Genesis 1, we get a sense for just how much God cares about the world. As he creates it, he does so with careful intentionality. God consistently recognizes that what he has made is good. In the end, he sees it all as very good.
God did not make the world merely as a staging ground for heaven. I used to believe this. As a teenager, I believed that the only thing that really mattered in life was, well, nothing, other than life after this life. Things on earth had value only inasmuch as they helped people get to heaven. I did not consider the creation story in Genesis, with its clear teaching that this world does in fact matter to God. I also did not understand that what I called heaven was, in Scripture, a new heaven and a new earth. The end of God’s story reiterates what is clear in the beginning: God cares deeply about the earth and its creatures. God’s heart is moved by what happens on earth, as well as heaven.
Today, I continue to believe that life beyond this life, what we often call eternal life, matters greatly. Helping people to experience this reality is a chief motivation of my life. But I no longer believe that it is all that really matters. If God cares so much about this world, then so should I, and so should you, and so should God’s people everywhere. Indeed, may our hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God. And may our hearts also be moved by the things that move the heart of God.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
If you are a Christian, how do you think about this life, this world?
What has shaped your thinking?
Is it possible to care about what we call heaven and still care about the world?
Is it possible to care about the world and still value heaven?
Are you open to having your heart moved by the things that move God’s own heart?
Gracious God, thank you for the words and works of Bob Pierce, who has helped us ask you to tenderize ours heart, making them more like your own. Today, we ask that you help us to be moved by what moves your heart. In particular, may we care about this world you created as good and even very good. May we care about its natural features, its creatures, including its people. May our care for this world imitate yours, enriching and complementing, but not replacing, our concern for the age to come.
O Lord, today, may my heart be moved by that which moves your heart, and may I respond in faithfulness and service. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.