The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.
Proverbs 17:3 NKJV
It was the summer of 2003 in the early morning hours of a Thursday morning in Galena, Mexico, a small town surrounded by beautiful mountains. She sat at the picnic style table in the dining hall of this small mission doing her morning Bible Study while she and her friend waited on the others to shower and for breakfast to be served.
The two ladies in their late 40’s were on a week long mission trip with their church. Her friend had been in Galena previously and had shared that it was necessary to be the first people in the shower if one wanted a hot – warm shower. So every morning they had set their alarms for 5am and made their sleepy way to the showers, showered and dressed then had found a quiet place to do their morning Bible Study sitting quietly together as they read and prayed, occasionally praying together.
They had spent the week teaching Vacation Bible School, holding evening worship services and teaching a Women’s Bible Study. As they had gone from small, quaint village to small, quaint village, sometimes traveling miles and miles on narrow, dirt, mountain roads she enjoyed the beauty of the mountains. Her heart was moved at each location by the eagerness of the Mexican people to welcome these Americans who had come to their village.
The previous night she had not been feeling well when they made their way to a far away village, known to be one of the poorest and the most resistent to visitors from the mission. Her stomach ached and churned. Barely containing herself she immediately asked for a bathroom when the van stopped explaining that she was ill. She quickly learned that there was only one outhouse in the entire village.
As they approached the owners of this precious outhouse, the leader of their team spoke to the family in Spanish and soon returned with a roll of toilet paper telling her that they were willing to share their only roll of toilet paper and their outhouse. He pointed to the field where she saw a small unpainted wooden structure in the open.
As she neared the structure she saw it was leaning and there were large cracks between the boards and a threadbare cloth that had once covered the door but now only partially covered it. As she gratefully sit on the “throne” she praised the Lord for His provision as she stared out of the cracks wondering who was watching her.
On this Thursday morning as she read the words of Proverbs 17:3 – the Lord tests the heartshe knew that He was aware of her desire to leave this primitive place, to be a ‘sender’, not a ‘goer’ – she quickly saw that her heart had not truly been mission focused.
As time passed and the words of Proverbs 17:3 would come before her time and time again she would find many lessons such as the heart of Christ that the sweet Mexican lady had shown toward her when she had so selflessly shared her precious, priceless roll of toilet paper. Although noticed and thank yous extended, the true depth of that sacrifice and the loving heart of that woman went unnoticed for several years.
Since that July morning when God first made these words scream at me from the pages of my Bible He has used them many times to cause me to listen closely to the state of my heart, for it is my heart – not my words or my actions – that is His primary concern. If my heart is right then my words and actions will follow. Thank you Lord for getting my attention.
Have a blessed day in The Lord.