Let me begin by saying that in almost every imaginable way I could not have been given a more suitable chapter to discuss. My heart has survived this same radical surgery that Mark delineates. In many ways it is a surgery that continues and needs to continue happening as we continue to pursue Jesus. Truly it is the only thing that will radically change a deeply messed up world… a new heart.
Growing up in an ultra-conservative brand of Christianity I quickly learned an us verses them mentality. This extended far beyond theological discussions. It leaked into every part of life. That’s what the heart is meant to do. It is also the beauty of what Batterson challenges us with here. This radical, surgical re-imaging will affect every quadrant of our oft-miserable lives. It will foster in us a deep sense of community as humans even when we likely have little else in common. It will cause us to – I don’t know – feed 5,000+… not to give them a sermon, but to give them what they need ahead of giving them what they don’t even know they need most.
All said, I think Mark again draws our attention away from external behaviors and to (pardon the pun) the heart of the matter.
In that same direction, I think he pulls up a little short in telling us how to get there. I do not think it comes from merely following an emotional moment. Or deciding to make a difference despite the odds… it may include good things like those. But I speak as one with a changing heart, that this type of transplant occurs only One way, and perhaps Mark is assuming this part. The only way to a new heart is that the Savior Surgeon removes your old one – often through great pain – and gives you this new, life-giving organ that you can never fully explain. Praise be to God for His unspeakable gift!