The biggest heist in modern history only took an hour and a half. Thieves cut $500 million of art by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and Vermeer out of their ornate frames with knives and screw-drivers. These treasures have never been recovered.
It was 1:24 am on a Sunday morning, March 18,1990. Two men dressed as Boston policemen rang the bell at the Palace Road entrance of the museum.The guard let them in. Shortly after the imposters entered the museum, they overpowered two young guards, taping their eyes, ears and mouths shut, then shackling them face down to the basement heating pipes. The theft wasn’t discovered until 7 am that morning. Twenty-three years later, the Isabel Gardner Museum robbery still represents the largest property theft of all time.
Thieves don’t bother with anything not worth the time or risk. The greater value, the greater effort. After all, a pay-off is at stake. The Gardner Museum robbery succeeded through intricate strategy. Valuable things attract determination on both sides, one to guard and the other to steal.
We carry a treasure. It isn’t money or precious jewels. It can’t be grasped with a natural hand. It is a gift valued by God and the enemy. It is our heart. Just like the physical heart beats and blood courses through our bodies, the spiritual heart is designed to produce life, the God kind of life. There is a thief who targets that treasure. Why? Because of the infinite value of what our hearts produce.
We are created in the image of God. He is all about life. He paid the price to offer life in all His goodness, as well as power to conquer any attempt to abort it. He created our heart to be a womb. A woman receives the seed of a child and carries it in a hidden place. That little one grows until every part is formed and ready for delivery. Our hearts are designed to produce God-babies, God-dreams on the earth. These dreams begin in seed form and with the proper care grow into full-fledged, living realities.
Just as Adam took care of the first garden, God made us stewards of our hearts. Adam’s job was to watch over the life produced in that garden. Just like the guard at the museum, Adam let the enemy in. The treasure he was supposed to protect was stolen. We, too, can lose the potential of that treasure if we don’t know how to guard it.
Our hearts are fertile soil for the promise of God. But circumstances rise up to wage war with those dreams. Our responses either cultivate the soil or mash it into a hard, concrete-like path. We can let hard times stomp that precious heart into hardness when we give up on the dream and agree with the roar of doubt, snarling,”It was impossible, anyway.” We can let boulders of hurt, regret and pain clutter the ground of our hearts. Or we can choose to fill our hearts with stuff. Stuff that doesn’t really matter, stuff that fills our container so full there is no longer room for the dream.
Good news. This treasure can be recovered. It may get diverted, stepped on and generally abused. But Jesus Christ came to restore. Restore means to return to original intent. He paid the price for all the ways we fail and fall short. It is His plan to restore our heart to its original intent as a production center for the promises of God. So read the Bible. Let Him share His dreams. We are in them! We accept the privilege of guarding the most precious gift of all, the heart that produces Him on earth.