The Parable of the Lawnmower?
Welcome to the Chaplain’s Corner one more time. Well, it was inevitable… yesterday I mowed the grass for the first time this year. <gasp/grin> If I lived up north in “Yankee Country” that wouldn’t be so surprising, but for central Texas (where in years past I’ve mowed even in January and February), that is a sad commentary on the state of our rain situation. We got a couple inches last week and that’s the most rain we’ve had since September, I think.
I pulled and pushed the riding mower out of the shed – the tires were flat (hazard of mowing under mesquite) and the battery was dead from sitting all winter. I had to get the mower out to where I could pull the “ChappyMobile” close and use the little lighter-plug compressor to air up the tires. And then roll the mower around to where I could jump it off. (It’s amazing how much easier it is to move with inflated tires.)
Once I hooked up to the battery in the Explorer, the mower turned right over and started after just a few coughs. I didn’t mention that the gas can was empty, so all I had was what gas was left in the tank. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to finish the front and back yards without having to push the mower back to the shed.
Hmmm… seems like there might “be a sermon in there.” Wanna bet?
I guess the place to start is with the lawnmower itself. My mower is more than 10 years old; and mowing about 3 acres of grass, weeds, fire ant mounds, gopher mounds, mesquite twigs, and cactus has taken its toll. In other words, it’s no longer in mint condition… dusty, faded, scratched & dented – just plain tired. (Sounds like me when I come in after riding on the mower for 4 hours when it hasn’t rained in weeks.) And as “tired” as it is, there’s still a mowing job ahead of it, and each time I go out, it “rises to the occasion” – sometimes needing a bit more “help” than others.
Have you ever felt like that by the time you get your “40” in for the week? How ‘bout when you get home from your second job? Sometimes life just uses us hard, or as the old cowboys would say, “I feel like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet.” So, the old mower is a pretty good picture of the way we can get to feeling not only physically and emotionally, but also spiritually as well – dusty, dry and used up.
The mower was designed and crafted (created, if you will) for a specific job – to mow grass. And the mower “has that job to do” so to speak. We humans have been created with a specific task to do, and that is to worship God. As I was gathering thoughts and typing, I realized that the mower doesn’t have to be pretty to do its job. Sometimes we can allow ourselves to be convinced that we have to be “pretty” to be of use to God or even to come into His house to worship him. When we’re feeling used up, that’s easier to believe, but it’s still not true. It’s what’s in our heart, not our high dollar duds and fancy footwear, that makes for worship.
Flat tires and dead batteries. In our profession it’s easy to get deflated (discouraged) with all the dirtbags, trauma, mistreatment, meanness, and just plain misfortune that we have to deal with on a daily basis. I know, I’ve been there myself a time or three. We can just get to where we don’t seem to have it in us anymore. That’s when we need a friend to help.
Okay, since a “parable” is supposed to be a sort of verbal illustration of something, let’s look at it this way: If the mower is a picture of us when we’re feeling all used up, and the mowing job is worship, then the “Chappymobile” could be an illustration of Jesus. I brought the mower to the vehicle which had what the mower needed to fulfill its job – air for the tires and electricity for the battery.
Jesus can touch our lives where we’re hurting and give us healing and encouragement in our inner selves which will allow us to continue living and to have a personal relationship with Him. And once we’re “back in the saddle,” spending time with Him in a personal, meaningful way, He’ll put more “gas in our tanks” and keep us going.
As I said, there are times we need a friend to help us get the mower and the vehicle in close proximity. If you’re a Christian and see someone you know who looks to have some “flat tires,” take a chance and reach out to them. Sometimes all it takes is a little prayer to “jump off the battery” and get them started on their way to a closer relationship with God.
If you’re the one who’s got “flat tires” and/or a “dead battery,” take a chance and reach out to a Christian you know and ask them to pray with you that God would make a difference in your life.
Thanks for spending some time with me again. Blessings to you and yours.
Chaplain Bill firstname.lastname@example.org