He sat with a Bible open in his lap as tears found their way down weather-worn cheeks. My grandfather, well into his 80s, was sharing with me words from Scripture that had fueled his life with Christ. He turned to the Old Testament and read from Job:
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
As my grandfather read this final statement, it was clear these were no longer Job’s words and passions alone—my grandfather owned them. His heart yearned for his Redeemer. He would have been at home in what A.W. Tozer referred to as the “fellowship of the burning heart.”
I’ve discovered that this fellowship isn’t made up of everyone who wears the Christian nametag. But within this group may be found passionate disciples of every generation, gender and ethnic group. I have encountered various members of this fellowship:
- A young math professor weighing his missional engagement in college environments against a consuming passion to lead others in worship.
- A new missionary describing the love God has given her for people as sometimes almost too much to bear.
- An 11-year-old boy asking God to show him his future ministry and responding to God’s tug on his heart toward global missions.
- A church staff member weeping as he confronts the gravitational pull toward comfort and stability instead of ongoing ministry to his neighborhood.
Foursquare’s Emerging Leader Network (ELN) stresses the importance of disciples’ becoming like Jesus in the arenas of head, hand and heart. Something life-changing occurs as opportunity is given for these three areas to grow simultaneously.
Though each of these three areas is significant, if one were to take precedence, I’d vote for the heart. Proverbs gives the following reminder: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Prov. 4:23, NIV).
As you are looking for partners in kingdom ministry, don’t search for the smartest or most capable, or those who fit some other cultural standard. Look for those whose hearts are on fire for God. You just may find that joining a preteen or octogenarian within this fellowship will rekindle the passions of your own heart.
HOW YOU CAN PRAY
For what does your heart truly burn? Has God given you an overwhelming love for a ministry or people group, and are you pursuing it with your whole heart? Pray for the bravery to step out in faith and see what God can do.
Praying with us? Include what you are praying for in a comment below.