I have to teach Young Womens in Amherst this weekend. I have my handout, scriptures selected, and even a short video clip to share. I felt ready to go and prepared until I was reading in the Old Testament for my class. I came across this verse, it’s Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgements.”
Before going to teach the Israelites who had been in bondage for 70 years, Ezra prepared his heart. He didn't do a handout or find a perfect video clip to accompany his lessons. He focuses on the state of his heart.
Prepare mean to make something ready. What was Ezra getting his heart ready for? You could say it is the three things mentioned in the verse- seek the law, do the law, and teach the law. But I think the preparation of his heart was a precursor to his ability to do those three things.
Every night (every single night) I have to make dinner for my always hungry sons. To make dinner I have to seek out a recipe, follow the instructions, and then serve the dinner to the boys. However, if I haven’t prepared for dinner time there won’t be any dinner. I have to plan what I am going to make, go to the store and buy ingredients. If these things haven’t happened we are going to end up having Tuna Sandwiches for dinner AGAIN.
So I am left with the question, how do I prepare my heart. In the same way that the ground has to be broken up in order to plant a seed, I think our hearts have to be broken or open. The spirit can not enter a heart that is closed off and protected with walls and moats around it. We must open our hearts through finding that vulnerable space and being brave enough to stay there. Then the spirit can flow in and out of us and the teacher and learner can be edified together. When going forth to learn and teach the word of God we must prepare our hearts by opening them and showing other our brokenness.