Would you agree that the first and foremost task of the Christian leader is to attend to their heart and soul?

That’s what Solomon says.  He puts it this way, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  (Prov. 4:23)  Another translation refers to the heart as “the wellspring of life.”  Our Lord Jesus had a lot to say about this human wellspring. Consider his words:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart.” Matthew 12:30
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart…for out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.”  Luke 6:45

As leaders in business and faith, we cannot fail to attend to the health of our inner life…the life of the soul, the spirit, the heart.  And it is at this deep inner level of our being that core beliefs are established, lasting values defined, habits cemented, and long-term affections formed.

It is from this inner life that our behaviour spills out …into our marriage, our bank accounts, our online viewing habits, our church commitments, our treatment of employees, and our business ethics.  That’s why we need a soul strategy before we need a business strategy.  An anonymous author tells us why:

Sow a thought, reap an action.  Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.  Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Nothing is more important than our inner life. In her book, ‘Learn To Lead from Your Spiritual Center’, Patricia Brown speaks to the centrality of a healthy inner life as crucial for effective leadership.  Here’s what she writes,

“The failure of leaders to deal with their own souls, their inner life, is deeply troubling not only for themselves but also for other persons in the misery they cause. The destructive consequences of leaders who fail to work out of a deep sense of their inner self are staggering.  Leaders have a particular responsibility to know what is going on inside their souls.  For leaders, this means taking the journey in and down.  As they become fully awake, they come to know and understand what it is within that betrays them and those they strive to serve.”

Sadly, we all know stories of Christian business and church leaders whose lives went off the rails because they failed in the one great task of keeping their inner life, the life of the soul and heart, aligned with the true north of God’s divine Word for them.

How do we weather the storms of life that threaten the soul?  How do we attend to our soul?  By faithfully practicing the classic spiritual disciplines:  reading God’s Word with meditation, prayer, self-examination, confession, restitution, simplicity, worship, Christian community, celebration, service, submission, and solitude with God.

In light of the above, is it time for you to “ponder the pattern your life is weaving?”  Sometimes the most important thing we can do is practice the discipline of “examen” and conduct a self-audit on the state of our inner life.  As we go into this week and live out the month of April, let’s take this prayer with us.

“Almighty God, in this quiet hour I seek communion with Thee.  From the fret and fever of the day’s business, from the world’s discordant noises, from the praise and blame of men, from the confused thoughts and vain imaginations of my own heart, I would now turn aside and seek the quietness of Thy presence.  All day long I have toiled and striven; but now, in the still of heart and the clear light of  Thine eternity, I would ponder the pattern my life is weaving.”  (John Baillie, a Diary of Private Prayer). 

May God bless you as you ponder the pattern your life is weaving.

Gordon Dirks, President (Interim)

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