“Above all else”…that’s one of those superlative phrases. No mistaking it’s intent…when “above all else” flows out of a mouth, the next words are to be marked as of great value. If your boss is giving you instruction and you hear the words, “above all else” you get out your notepad because your job will depend upon how well you understand and apply the next words uttered. If the father of the girl you are dating is laying down the ground rules for your evening with his daughter, and you hear him whisper the words, “above all else” look him in the eyes, repeat what he said, and then say, “yes sir.” (As a father of daughters, I trying to give you helpful advice.)
So when a man with a reputation for being the wisest man in the world say, “above all else” it’s a good idea to mark his words well. So here is what Solomon writes in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” It is the wellspring of life.
In the Hebrew language and culture, the heart was seen as far more than just the source of emotion or love. The heart was the source of the deepest, truest you. The wellspring of life. Every great act, every ennobling thought will flow from or through your heart. All significant work, every life-giving relationship is shaped by your heart. And so Solomon encourages you to guard your heart. Above all else guard your heart.
Let me ask you… What is Your “Above All Else?”
Perhaps it’s your reputation. For some of us being respected is our “above all else” Many of us have found it hard not to hold “external success” as our “above all else.” Maybe it’s winning… maybe it’s your kids. Maybe it’s a career goal… or the purchase of the next big toy. Maybe it’s your social network.
Maybe it should be your heart? I find that when I don’t guard my heart, I stay bitter longer (hard-heart). I get discouraged quicker (losing heart). I hurt others with greater ease (heartless) and I mope (heavy hearted). How about you?
There is something about your heart. It is the wellspring of life. It was made to bear the image of God. So how is your wellspring? Are you loving better this year, than you did last year? Has the capacity of your heart grown in it’s ability to forgive? Is it a little less hard? A little more tender? Have you grown in generosity? How is your heart?