Written by Stephanie Reynolds

People Over Bananas

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

Even if you’ve been at CityHeart Church for a short time, I know it didn’t take long before you encountered this scripture or at least the phrase “Your Heart Matters”; it’s the heartbeat of our church because we follow Jesus, and your heart matters most to Him.

I experienced the weightiness of this in a very practical moment back in April during our Good Friday Worship Service.  From the Experience Team side, I carefully pre-planned and was proactive in all the items I needed to bring for both Friday night, our regular Sunday services, and everything we would have needed for the after Sunday service activities.

Part of our regular Sunday morning preparations includes bananas, oranges, coffee, and donuts. Only the bananas and oranges were things I could bring ahead of time.  I put them in the back, and somehow when I was finished arranging other things for Good Friday set up, bananas were out on display on one of our tables.

As I was coming out from the back into our refreshments area, there was a teen grabbing a banana, so I apologetically let her know that those were actually for Sunday morning and put them in the back.

After completing the tasks in preparation for the weekend, I went into service, but couldn’t seem to focus.  All I could think about was the stinkin’ banana!  My heart was stuck on this thought: what is a banana in light of eternity?

I made sure the teen received the banana. The reality is that even though we have procedures to help things run smoothly and to be organized, it can’t supersede people.  If procedures trump the very hearts of the people they were meant to help and bless, then it’s out of order.  We should be more about “people over procedure.”

My heart broke as I thought of a number of situations this banana incident could have been:

What if this was a person’s first time ever to church or it took every bit of courage to come back after being hurt by the church body as a whole?
How would this speak to them if this was their first experience?

What if this banana was the first thing they may have had the opportunity to eat all day?

Maybe because they had been busy and didn’t have time or maybe they’re living on the street and just didn’t “look like” that was their life?

Again, what is a banana in light of eternity?

I know that’s not how I want to represent CityHeart and even more importantly, God.

What “banana” situation could you find yourself in?  What are some ways you can lovingly put people at the forefront?  If our heart desires should line up with the Lord’s, we MUST care about what He cares about and values in high regard the things He values.  He cares about the hearts of people above all else.

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Thank you for being patient with us…for loving us where we are, for loving us in a way that desires us to grow in character to look more like you, and calling us to come closer to you.  You value our hearts above all else which is why you command us to love you with all our heart, soul, and might and to love others as we love ourselves.  Help us love well, to break our hearts for what breaks yours…to value what you highly regard as valuable above all else also.  

In Jesus’  name.  Amen.