Out of the overflow of the heart…

MyCloudYesterday I went to the first day of a course to help me plan for my retirement. It’s run by my employer and various people have told us that it’s the best course they have ever attended! (What a shame that the best course comes at the end of your career …)
Best or not, it was certainly full of information – some I knew, some I didn’t know and some that it was useful to be reminded of.
But better than any content was the time I had to talk with a colleague I met there. Somehow she discerned (and enquired about) the spiritual dimension of the retirement Olwen and I are looking forward to (neither of us quite knew how that happened), so I was able to talk easily about what our loving Father (I’m talking about God, here) is leading us into – what He has dreamed for us and the way he is preparing for us.
At the end of conversation over lunch I said I was simply sharing “out of the overflow of my heart”, because that is how I felt it.

It’s easy to share out of overflow, but you’d better be sure of what is in there, because it will probably overflow whether you like it or not!

The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 (Berean Study Bible)

A more familiar translation puts it this way: “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” If your heart is pretty empty, I guess you’re fairly safe, but that’s a sad way to live – I know, for my heart was empty for many years. Or at least, I was not in touch with what was in it. But even when you are not in touch, your heart can surprise you; you say something that you think is uncharacteristic and wonder, “Where on earth did that come from?” It overflowed from your heart, you just didn’t know it was in there!

So it seems to me that I need to make sure I fill my heart with good things!

As the wise writer of Proverbs says:

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

But how are we – how am I – to guard my heart in this way?

I’d like to recommend a few ways:

  • Spend time with God (I’ve written about that in another post: Early in the morning)
  • Talk often with Him (like Brother Lawrence, “practice His presence”)
  • Intentionally think about good things, just as the apostle Paul wrote to the early believers in Philippi:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8

And what are those things? There is much that is beautiful in this world: sunsets and mountains, poetry and music, people we meet or work with. These are all good things to think about.

However, it occurs to me that all the attributes Paul lists are to be found in one person: Jesus!

Think about Him. Read the Gospels. Discover Him for the first time – or again. Fill your heart with Him and His love!

Then overflow!

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