Okay, so I’ll be honest up front and say we are one of the few homes in my neighborhood (at least on my street) that do not pay for someone to come in each month in the summer and quarterly, year round, to service our lawn with chemical treatment. I am not willing to put that big a chunk of my budget into a lawn. We live in Oklahoma. This grass is not blue-grass like we had in Colorado, or any thick blanket of comfy toe-hugging grass. We have Bermuda grass. It’s prickly (even in its greenest state) and it grows wildly (reminds me of my own growth). It will grow anywhere…even in our red dirt/clay land! It grows between sidewalk cracks and loves my semi-landscaped flowering bushes around the walkway.
One of our neighbors didn’t use to treat their lawn and so that side of our lawn was also getting ‘weedy’ from the spreading of their lawn. On the other side, our neighbor faithfully treats his lawn and has it professionally treated as well. This semi-retired gentleman spends approximately an hour a day on his lawn. The area of our yard that borders this lawn is very thick and does not have weeds; it is a different grass altogether and almost comfortable to walk on and the hardest to mow.
I have learned that my lawn is much like my own spiritual life. I have choices. I can spend a ton of time TRYING to make my lawn beautiful, without the fertilizer and treatments, and it’s green, but it’s still prickly and hard underfoot. It still has tons of weeds I mow down weekly. It still only maintains its beauty the day or two after mowing. After that the weedy, unkempt mess begins to grow and the longer I let it go…the harder it is to tame it. My life is the same. I can PRETEND to study Scripture and to apply principles to my life and it appears I’ve done the work, but in reality in a few weeks the same demons haunt me and the same principles elude me.
Just like my neighbors and their lawns, the people I interact with and LEARN from, can and do affect my life. The people that do not care for their own lives; that do not practice the principles God has called me to practice through Jesus are impacting my life both directly and indirectly. The people that DO live the life Jesus has called them to and patterned for them also impact my life directly and indirectly. These second groups of people are my “life treatment”. They are the people that show me the value in ‘weeding my life’ of the things that are smothering me from God’s beauty lying dormant beneath the weeds. My beauty can and will be choked out on earth, by the lack of care and maintenance.
The other even more important lesson from the lawn is the water. We all know that water is life giving. It is something we thirst for and must have in order to sustain life. My lawn dies within about 10 days without water. It is able to be revived, but it is dry and brown and dusty. We can water it faithfully each day or even each week and bring it back to life…but if we let it go more than say…a month without water…it could reach the point of no return.
The same is true for too much water. It rains quite a bit in Oklahoma in the spring and fall and sometimes the grounds will be flooded with water. The grounds can take this occasional flooding without much negative impact. If this flooding continues for days and days and days…the grounds and the lawns will ‘drown’ and they will die.
Just like my lawn, without water our body cells shrivel up and go into a state of dehydration and we can die without it. Our chemistry is such that without water the brain will “dry up” literally! We can go a few hours, days even possibly many days without water, but then we reach a point of no return. We reach a point of death. Also like our land, our lives can get too much water too fast. Marathon runners will tell you if you drink too much water while running, you can die. Your body can only handle so much water before it can’t ‘handle excess’.
God offers water, life giving water to us in so many forms. We sometimes die of thirst at our own hand. We will not seek God’s word in the Bible or in prayer. We will ‘thirst’ ourselves from the “body” God has placed us within (in church). We will ‘thirst’ ourselves of the lessons God is teaching us in so many ways.
Yesterday I went to our church 2 year anniversary picnic and no one brought bottles of water. We had tons of soda and even some Gatorade, but the prevailing request was water. Eventually some people went to buy some water, but the thirst that came was overwhelming. I got home and drank about 80 ounces of water in a two hour time period. I was “dying of thirst”.
Believe it or not, we can also get too much water. If we immerse ourselves completely in the water God offers, we are no longer living in the world where God has placed us. We are living on a cloud, adrift without any ability to teach or learn from the others God has brought to us. God brought us weeds and the ability to thirst so that we would know what it is and be able to relate to others who thirst and have weeds. If someone didn’t go before us and deal with weeds and deserts, we would never understand how to do it ourselves.
I’m praying that as summer comes in full force, you will provide your lawn and your life with the water it wants…and needs everyday, and that you would KNOW, through wisdom how much it will take to sustain your life and the lawns.