The gift of a story is the gift of a memory.  Each of us can remember the stories told to us, stories that filled our hearts with fantastic images and joy.  One of those stories was the Wizard of Oz, the original 1939 movie starred Ray Bolger as the slap stick Scarecrow and Bert Lahr as the mostly cowardly Lion.  Jack Haley was the often tearful Tin Man and Judy Garland, as the over rainbow, Dorothy.

We are taking a different look at this story, basically the back story of the Tin Man in our new teaching series called Heartless. Most of us could describe pretty accurately the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy chanced upon the rusting Tin Man and oiled him to a new sheen.

But how did the tin man get in that predicament?  Without giving away any spoilers, Heartless imagines the Tin Man’s origins and the life he lived before he became the Tin Man. It involves a woodsman who lacks possessions, but wants to marry his beloved fiancée, and sets his heart to build a large and beautiful cabin house.  To that backdrop is added a resentful mother, a cursed ax, a brilliant inventor, and a wagon load of beautifully constructed steampunk props and imagery. Combine all that and you end up with the tin man rusted and immobilized on the side of the road.

The Tin Man got into this predicament because of his desire to build a house before he got married. While there is nothing wrong with a new house, that obsession turned hope and opportunity into calamity.

The Tin Man story reminded me of what Jesus says in Matthew 6: 19: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Jesus main point is, set your heart upon the Lord and serve Him only and not to try to serve two masters.

The Tin Man and the people who were listening to Jesus’ words had nothing compared to what we have today. I read that the average American has 2 and 1/2 TVs. Most families have two vehicles. The average family has a slew of technology. There is nothing wrong with those things, as there is nothing wrong with wanting to build a house to live in when you get married. As long as it does not distract us from having a heart for God. The best way to keep from serving two masters is to do what Mark 12:30 says to do, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” 

What does that mean? It means you think about Him all of the time. You long to be with Him. Your are devoted to Him. You are faithful to Him. He becomes the most important thing in your life.

“If you don’t have a heart, you don’t have anything” (Tin Man). I would re-word it. “If you don’t have God’s heart, you don’t have anything.” Understanding the heart of God and keeping His perspective central is the key to dealing with the ups-and-downs of life. Living out of our flesh-patterns is easy, but making the choice to seek God’s heart and respond to our circumstances in tune with His heartbeat is powerful.

Sadly, a lot of people either never had, or have lost their passion for the Lord. They’ve become apathetic. The word apathetic literally means “without passion.”

I remember a Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown was talking to Lucy. He was talking about there being so much apathy in the world today. Lucy responded, “Yeah, it’s terrible. But who cares?” It’s not that we don’t care, in fact we do.  But we get distracted and as the Tin Man example shows us, we can get further and further off track.

Colossians 3: 23 says: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” For Christianity to really be alive, it must be lived out. This is what makes the Christian faith so powerful and life changing.  To truly love God, you must love Him in all you do the way you live your life, conduct your business, work your job, and deal with your relationships.

Do you desire to mirror God’s heart and to influence those around you for good? You would be wise not to follow the Tin Man’s example. Make your relationship with the Lord a top priority, and trust and obey Him in everything. When you succeed, remember that all you are and have is a gift from God. Then you will show the world that your heart belongs exclusively to Him.