I was talking with a good friend on the phone one time. He told me that he felt distant and cut off from the Lord. He told me how he’d gotten caught up in ambition and trying to be a big success. He realized that he’d left God out of a good bit of his life.
I said, “You jumped the fence and now you’re in the wrong back yard.”
He asked, “What do you mean?”
I told him that growing up in Denison we had these crazy neighbors next door. At least from our perspective they were crazy. Especially the mother. All our friends agreed.
That woman hated us neighborhood kids. We played football in our front yard. When the ball went into her yard she would run out and grab it and take it back inside. Back in those days a football was a cherished commodity. There was usually only one for the entire neighborhood. And parents didn’t replace them without good reason.
“You think footballs grow on trees?”
“But Dad,” we would protest, “Mrs. Meeks got the ball.”
“I don’t care who has it, if you would take better care of it you’d still have it.”
End of story.
Louise Meeks knew that if she got our ball we couldn’t play football until someone had a birthday and got a new ball. Fortunately for us she was sort of heavy set and most of the time we could outrun her to the ball.
The backyard was a different story. From my earliest days I was told never to go into the neighbor’s back yard. I feared Louise Meeks. But our backyard was the whiffle ball baseball field. And every so often someone would foul a whiffle ball over the fence. So they would hoist me over and off I’d dash to get the ball. Being in that backyard scared me to death. I was behind enemy lines! I couldn’t wait to get that ball and get back over the fence to the protection of my own back yard. Funny, they had to set me over the fence but I could jump it coming back.
I told my friend, “That’s what I meant when you were in the wrong back yard. Your priorities put you in enemy territory.”
Sometimes we get our priorities out of whack, and that puts us in the wrong backyard. Jesus told us how to get back over the fence to his yard:
(Matthew 6:33) Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.