A long time ago (the last time I wrote), I think I mentioned that I am not a huge fan of yard work. I have contacted Mark Zuckerberg to offer him untold hundreds of cents to finally key in the code for a “dislike” button on Facebook just so I could create a page for yard work and then publicly go on record with my disdain. As everyone knows, once something goes live on Facebook, it is a cold, hard fact that would stand up to the most brutal cross-examination. I have yet to hear back from Mark. Maybe I need to up the ante... he seems a little strapped for cash... Offering Zuckerberg money is probably like offering to help Bono get noticed.
But, despite my adversarial relationship with the agricultural arts, there are still times when I have to go out and mow my lawn or risk having the city put one of those cool stickers on my door that says, in effect, “These people moved and now we have to take care of their lawn. Give us a call when you begin to hear jungle sounds.”
My typical routine is to find something to keep me relatively busy until the sun starts to egress from the sky. My former lawn (the last one I mowed) was fairly large and it would take me the better part of four hours to mow it all. Throw in the occasional edging and we were looking at a quarter-day investment of time. So, if I started my landscaping activity as the sun waned, the chances are that I would run out of daylight before I ran out of grass and I would be able to cut short my dance of dislike. One particular night this was exactly the case. I had started mowing later in the day. I had finally given in to the truth that I could no longer try to pass off the shoots of grass that were cascading over the curb as “native ivy” or my backyard as a “natural grass reserve”...
I started with my normal routine - set the mower up one notch higher so I still wouldn't have to bag it and there wouldn't be any huge hay bales left over when I was done. Next, dart off over the turf in a serpentine motion chasing the high spots. I had no designs on being able to tackle the back yard on the same day. If I was able to get the entire front lawn covered, I could have a clear conscience as I joined in the neighborhood disappointment in “those people who don't take care of their lawns.” As the time past, though, I discovered I was going to have a problem. Sunlight was disappearing faster then my lawn edge! I had been able to get through clipping the front lawn and had zealously moved on to the edge. Being on a corner lot, there was a LOT of edge to do! I had worked my way through about half of the distance nearest my house when I realized that there was NO way I was going to be able to complete the entire edge. Knowing this, I made the only decision that a horticultural hypocrite can make – I decided to stop work where I was and move the the edge at the street. You know, the one everyone can see. The one that would make the greatest impression on the casual passersby. “If I can at LEAST get the edge cut at the street”, I thought, “then people will think I take care of my lawn. I just don't have time to ACTUALLY take care of it. And it's just not that important to me.”'
So there you have it. When push comes to shove and a decision has to be made, what is revealed is that I don't REALLY care about my yard. But I do care that you think that I care about my yard. I had to chuckle at myself as I finished cutting an edge that looked like it had been crafted by someone with vertigo. How often is this same veneer of virtue applied to my spiritual life? How often do I care about my spiritual health simply because the community I live in values it? Have I been equally lax in caring for my relationship with God – putting off the real work with busyness? When it comes to the heart of it, am I more concerned with the actual state of my fellowship with the Father or with your perception of my spiritual health?
May our labor this week be motivated by a response to God's great grace and not a desire for men's admiration.
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