Because our neighborhood is about 20 years old, many residents are redoing the landscaping. Time has rendered many of the original plants thin or too large, no longer beautiful. Many yards are sparse because the now large and shady trees block the sun from the grass. Thankfully, our front yard doesn’t require a total redo at this point, but even if it did, we prefer prioritizing the back yard which is hidden with a fence. Our chief concern is the view from the windows in our living spaces seen by those who are invited inside.
Our lives are very similar. Many of us use more time and energy to work on how we look to others rather than what is inside of us. As Christians, we have invited Jesus into our inner homes, but we aren’t always concerned with the view.
What if Jesus showed up today in your inner life to assess it and help you redo it? What would he find? Is your spiritual life growing and producing beautiful flowers and fruit? Is the garden neglected and weedy or perhaps bare? How often do you tend the garden he has given you? Take a few minutes to prayerfully consider this picture of your heart, your love for God, and your love for others.
As leaders, we must open our inner lives to those whom we hope to influence. Not only should we welcome Christ there, but we should invite others in as well. Our honesty and vulnerability is a great gift and a blessing to them. Yes, our public actions are important and we are accountable for them, but they grow out of what is inside. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person,” (Matt. 15:19-20a).
Yes, it is difficult, particularly for those of us who tend to be private, but it is well worth the investment in those for whom we care. They need to know that we know we aren’t perfect. In truth, they likely see much of what we try to hide inside through our actions out front anyway.
What is growing in the back yard of your heart? Whom have you invited in?