There’s an old expression that you’ve probably heard,
And it dawned on me as I was leaving church the other night:
“The grass is always greener on the other side.”
You see, it was a ridiculous scene really
A dark and stormy night as I ran to my car
Parked conveniently under the Tampa thunderheads,
And as I started the engine, I noticed in my rearview mirror:
The sprinklers were running.
In the middle of a torrential downpour,
The sprinklers that didn’t trust God to water the lawn
But instead saw it as their duty and obligation
To keep the grass outside its usual verdant green
And it got me thinking: our lives are a lot like a lawn
Even though we think of them as part of The American Dream,
The turf lawn is a recent invention
An import from Britain,
The grass grows naturally in their soggier climate
And thus requires less upkeep.
A big lawn is a status symbol over there
And so that tradition came here too.
But with more land to spare,
And more desire to look wealthy,
And a strange fascination with riding lawnmowers,
The American lawn has had to get
Neater and tidier
A paragon of order and maintenance
Over the past century.
30% of our drinking water each year
Goes to our grass
To fuel our fascination with this plant that we can’t eat–
A plant that has no flower.
Because, seriously, think about it:
When’s the last time you used a front lawn for anything
Besides showing your neighbors
That you have a lawn
And that your grass is greener.
All of this points to a conclusion:
We don’t need them and yet
We waste time on our lawns
Because we don’t know what we need,
And because we don’t know what we need,
We focus on what we want,
And what we want is prestige
The simple satisfaction
Of showing our neighbor that we have made it
That the world is our oyster
That we don’t need anybody or anything
We just have to keep the lawn neat and tidy
Because you know what else we associate
With the color green?
Not just money or Kermit the Frog.
The green-eyed monster.
Jealousy, covetousness, and a general want
Of the things you don’t need.
Because we have convinced ourselves
That the greenest grass is the grass we don’t have;
We leave on the sprinkler because we don’t trust
That the grace of God is raining down on us
All the time.
We got to have the promotion,
We got to have the car,
We got to have the lawn,
So that the neighbors don’t get suspicious
Of just how hurt or broken or screwed up we really are,
And we lose sight
Of the only One we really need:
The Savior who gave Himself freely for us
Because here’s a revelation for the green-grass-seeker in all of us:
That grace unlike grass is freely given.
You need toil no more.
It’s not a search; it’s a surrender.
It’s not a rat-race; it’s a retreat
Into the loving embrace of the world’s worst economist
Who gives us everything
And asks only for our obedience in return.
So the next time you go out to water your lawn
(or if you live an in apartment like me,
the next time you see the sprinklers going)
I hope you’ll say a little prayer of thanksgiving:
That you and I are not ultimately responsible
For the saving of our souls,
But that they are tended by a Gardener
More loving and more giving
Than we could possibly know.
So please, turn off the sprinkler
Because you’re not fooling anyone.
Instead put your life in His hands.