Tend your springs well

Published 11:32 pm Friday, January 23, 2015

By Thurman Hayes

This past week, the president gave his annual State of the Union address. It is a speech that occurs each January, in which the president seeks to convey his feelings about how America is doing.

Of course, every president says, in so many words, “The state of our union is strong.” Presidents are politicians. They are not going to say, “Under my watch, the state of our union is weak.” That’s just not going to happen!

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Yet here is a more personal question for you this January: What is the state of your heart? Is your soul healthy?

The story is told of a village in the Alps that was built along the banks of a lovely river. The water was pure and sparkling. It not only supplied the residents with water, but it was a source of much recreation and joy.

One year the town council was reviewing the budget and noticed an employee whose title was “keeper of the springs.” They asked who this person was, and what he did. It was explained to them that he lived high up in the Alps, near the source of the springs that fed the town’s river. His job was to tend to the springs and remove anything that could pollute the water.

Someone said, “We’ve never even seen him. We have roads to repair and projects to fund. Let’s cut this so-called ‘keeper of the springs’ out of the budget.” So they did.

There was little difference at first. Life went on as usual. But over time the water began to lose its sparkle. One could no longer see the rocks at the bottom. The wildlife began to leave. By the second year the water had started to have a different smell, and some people began to get sick. By the third year some people died.

The council got together again and agreed to rehire “the keeper of the springs.” They realized that the health of their village depended on the river, and the health of the river depended upon the keeper of the springs that fed the river.

The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Our heart is indeed the most important part of us, because the rest of life flows from it.

So how do we take care of our hearts, our souls? God has freely provided all that we need.

He has provided the Scriptures, by which our souls are nourished. The Bible is not like any other book. If we will read it with prayerful hearts, God’s Spirit will speak to us and empower us for living.

He has provided the gift of prayer. God seeks a relationship with you. You don’t have to do life alone. Come before your heavenly Father often.

He has provided the gift of his people. We are not designed to live as spiritual Lone Rangers. We need the encouragement of a loving church family.

Most of all, he has provided the gift of his Son. Christ came to take the pollution of our hearts upon Himself on the cross, and He rose from the dead. For all who turn to Him in repentance and faith, there is heart cleansing and healing and eternal life.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.