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I never got to deliver this one because of a bad case of food poisoning, but here’s a reflection on coveting, lawns, and life to go along with this past Sunday’s discussion of the Tenth Commandment…


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.


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

The sprinklers

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


And greener

And cleaner

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.