Burning Hearts

By Inés Velásquez-McBryde

November 23, 2019

“They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Luke 24:32 (NIV)


Two disciples, one named Cleopas and one unnamed, were walking and talking on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, about a 7 mile journey. Jesus slips in and joins this traveling community. He asks one of those obvious Jesus-questions: “What are y’all talking about?” Cleopas responds: “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem that doesn’t know the events of the last few days?” To be fair, these disciples were traumatized by the violent death of their friend and the events leading up to that death. They had witnessed brutal violence and unjust death; their hopes had been crushed and fears had taken flight. Still, Jesus asks invitational questions not for the sake of information but intimacy: What things?

A path next to a grassy fieldCleopas is able to respond that things weren’t as they should be as a result of unmet expectations about Jesus. Cleopas re-tells stories, and one line that stands out to me is that they did not see Jesus in the story. They had lost him and couldn’t find him. Some women saw him, but Cleopas and his companion had yet to see him. Jesus then also re-tells stories of the prophets and highlights the stories about himself. Recently, my fellow colleague Dr. Josh Smith preached on this and stated: “Jesus addresses their hearts and histories.”

Jesus meets them in their realities, histories and difficult memories. He self-reveals to us in our daily journeys, even and especially when we don’t see him. Is God walking with me in these places? Is God with me at my workplace? Does Jesus care about the events of this staff meeting? I will never get tired of how Jesus asks genuine questions to which he already knows the answers, but waits for the answers from you. As leaders, our attentiveness to God’s presence can get clouded by the daily to-do list as we hustle to run out of the house and drop off the kids to school or as we rush to clock-in and lead that meeting while wondering if we unplugged the iron at home. We don’t want to burn the house down, for sure! However, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road?…”

Their hearts were burning as they went back through their day and saw how Jesus had been present in the slow walk back to Emmaus, the painful grief-stricken road after a series of unfortunate events. Jesus cares enormously about the events in our workplaces, nationally and globally. Jesus’ heart burns for what hurts yours and your neighbors’ hearts—the unmet expectations, the struggles of imposter syndrome, the team dynamics that make it hard to come in to work some days, and the financial struggles with no easy answers in your business. Where is your heart burning? Go there. Meet Jesus there. He’s already waiting for you.

Something to Think About: 

What is pulse of your community? How are the hearts that you supervise doing? What is happening at personal, local and national levels?

How can you carry work and personal burdens in a way that doesn’t consume you?

Something to Do:

Practice examen in the evenings on the ride home or the end of your day. Go back to the events of your day. What hurt? Where did your heart burn? What emotions took you by surprise? Where was Jesus in those moments? Ask Jesus to reveal himself to you in those memories and histories of your day. Make it a ride-home habit.


God of all love and self-revelation, we come to you tired, worn out, with fractured fatigue deep in our bones and fissures deep in our souls. We ask that your eyes of compassion would search into the deep, vulnerable, and burning places of our hearts those things that are burdensome and hurt our hearts. Reach in with your strength. Offer us your yoke. Carry our burdens. Where are you, Jesus? Even and especially when we don’t see you, reveal yourself to us in these points of pain. Grant us peace. Amen.

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online
The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

Inés Velásquez-McBryde

Chaplain at Fuller Theological Seminary & Pastor, Preacher, Speaker

Inés is an ordained pastor, preacher, reconciler, writer, and speaker. We are pleased to feature Inés as a regular Life for Leaders writer. On June 15, 2019, Inés received her Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary where she now serves as...

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