When the famous missionary Dr. David Livingstone died in Africa in 1873, the Africans loved him so much they removed his heart from his chest and buried it in African soil. His body, without his heart, was taken back to Britain and interred at Westminster Abbey. To this day, in the nation of Zambia a memorial stands near Livingstone’s buried heart as a reminder of a life well lived and well loved. Dr. Livingstone’s life and love for Africa was so impactful that it struck a fatal blow to the European slave trade when his work exposed its evil.
It was Livingstone’s heart of love and compassion that made the greatest impact on the African people. His physical body was only a vehicle that carried his heart to a distant continent where the people and customs were vastly different from his familiar Britain. In all of his travels, Livingstone was following his heart – a heart he had given to God to deposit in Africa. Once Livingstone gave his heart to Africa for the cause of Christ it was no longer his to possess.
To what we give our hearts will determine the direction of our lives and the impact we will leave behind. This is why the Scripture talks so much about the condition of our heart because it is the seat of our desires. The desire of our hearts will steer the course of our lives.
Today, examine your heart. Do not make this examination in some fear-based way, but with the loving and gentle guidance of God’s Spirit. Make any adjustments that are needed to align your heart with God’s heart. In that alignment make an exchange with Him. Give Him your heart for His. Once that exchange takes place an unimaginable destiny is released. God will take your heart to places and into relationships your body and mind would never consider. Then, at the end of your life, you will look back and see it was the condition of your heart that directed the steps of your journey because you were being directed by the passion of God’s heart.
Someday a memorial may be constructed over your buried heart. You may not have your physical heart removed and buried like Dr. David Livingstone, but the impact of your life will have been felt so strongly by the people you loved and served they will construct a memorial to your life in the form of a testimony of your heart that will be told long after your body is planted in the Earth. That is a life worth living.
“Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart.” Psalm 26:2