A beginner’s heart is the ‘first heart' -- the one he first had when he began an endeavor. It's wise to cultivate that beginner's heart. It is difficult to explain the beginner’s heart but everyone knows that the beginner’s heart is important. We hear people say, “Do you remember how your heart was when you first began? You must go back to the beginner’s heart.” To lose a beginner’s heart means that the heart has been changed. It means that the heart has gone bad compared to how it was in the beginning. A beginner’s heart is like the first love. People remember, cherish, and treasure their first love. The first love is pure love. It is an untainted love, a simple love, and a longing love. The first love is love that utterly yearns and longs for each other. God said toward the church of Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:4). The reason He reproached them for forsaking their first love is to encourage them to restore that first love.
A beginner’s heart is a humble and overwhelmed heart. When we receive God’s grace and favor from someone we feel undeserved. We think that we don’t have what it takes to receive such generous and unmerited grace. When we feel that we are receiving underserved grace we become grateful. A heart that feels undeserved is a ‘because of you’ heart. A ‘because of you’ heart is not about being self-confident or self-wise but about having a heart that says, ‘Because of you, I am better.' The heart that feels that it is because of my wife, because of my husband, because of my children, because of a good mentor, because of the nation, because of the church, because of God I am who I am, or I have what I have, is the heart of gold. The ‘because of you’ heart is the heart that cherishes grace. The ‘because of you’ heart is content with life.
A beginner’s heart is a greedless heart. To go back to the beginner’s heart is to let go of greed. It is to walk away from covetousness. Covetousness blinds our eyes. It makes us to be obsessed with vain things. Obsession is like trash. A person realizes what’s truly important when he or she empties his or her heart and lets go of his or her strength. When the heart is emptied, the eyes of the spirit are brightened. When the eyes of the spirit are purified we are able to see rightly. Seeing rightly is more important than seeing well. When the heart is emptied, a childlike heart is possessed. When a childlike heart is embraced, you are able to see things as they are. In addition, when a childlike heart is possessed, you begin to see things that you couldn’t and didn’t see. A way to develop creativity is by cultivating a childlike heart. A childlike heart is contained in a fine piece of art. Cultivating a childlike heart is not an easy thing. In order to cultivate a childlike heart, you must let go of your greed. Letting go of greed doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing. However, when you let go of greed and return to a childlike heart, amazing ideas start to flow out. You are able to comprehend the essentials and get amazing inspiration.
A beginner’s heart is a learning heart. When the beginner’s heart is lost, we lose motivation to learn and become prideful. A prideful person does not try to learn. A prideful person thinks that he or she knows everything. In contrast, a humble person always tries to learn. A humble person feels that he always lacks something. A humble person opens oneself toward learning, and tries to learn whatever book he or she reads and whomever one encounters. Learning is not a choice but a necessity. One cannot grow without learning. Without learning, there is no understanding. Without learning, we cannot cause influence. When we learn, we become wise and flexible. When we learn, our joy overflows. We can influence others when we are learning. A truly wise person is the lifelong learner. The one who teaches well is the one who learns well.
A beginner’s heart is the heart that remains in the calling it received. We were not born on this earth by chance. We are born to accomplish our God-entrusted calling. A calling describes our profession. Our professions are related with God-given gifts and talents. A person is most beautiful when he or she is faithful at one’s profession. A teacher’s profession is to relay knowledge to students and prepare them to live as great world citizens. A doctor’s profession is to heal patients. A cook’s profession is to provide good foods. An artist’s profession is to give inspiration and happiness to people’s heart through one’s artistic talents. A politician’s profession is to create a healthy community by creating just and fair laws. A church’s profession is to save lost souls. It is to worship God. A pastor’s profession is to feed God’s sheep with the Word (Jn. 21:15). It is to lead God’s sheep with knowledge and understanding (Jer. 3:15). The most important beginner’s heart is to go back to God. It is to rely and depend on God. May you live an abundant life by cultivating a beginner’s heart.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.