I've done it before, but it has been awhile. Mowing always gives me a strong sense of accomplishment because I can see a visible difference between the 'before' and 'after.' We had been out of town for a week and with a hectic schedule, my husband, Steve, hadn't had the opportunity to cut the grass. You know that feeling when all the neighbor's yards are freshly manicured and your yard is the exception? Fortunately, by mid-week, Steve was able to get three quarters of the yard mowed. Then the call came.
A photographer friend of ours had some clients who were wondering if they could have some pictures taken on our property. They liked the idea of having some outdoor photos taken by the pond and little bridge in our front yard. I hesitated for a moment, before explaining that our grass had only gotten three-fourths of its 'haircut.' My friend assured me that it wasn't a problem. As I hung up the phone, I had a brilliant idea - why don't I cut the rest of the grass in the morning before the photo shoot?
By 11:00 a.m. the next morning, I had my oldest work clothes on and was ready to tackle the yard. I had just gotten off the phone with Steve, who had patiently given me some 'how to' tips for both lawnmower and lawnmowing. He had me check to see if there was enough gas in the tank to finish the yard. I unscrewed the gas cap, and guessed that there was plenty. I recalled the basics and bravely set off, pushing the lawnmower down the drive. With five-inch tall grass daring me to take a swipe out of it, I reached down to start the mower. After a few tries, the engine engaged and off I went. Because our outer yard is about a third of an acre, Steve told me I may only be able to mow half a strip of grass before emptying the mower bag. As the sun beat down on me, the idea of having to walk several hundred feet to deposit the grass in the woods, didn't sound so good. I continued down the strip of grass I was mowing, turned the mower around, and headed up the next strip. Globs of grass began piling up on either side of the mower. Oops. Must need to empty the bag.
After trudging across the yard into the woods to make my deposit, I reattached the bag and was ready to complete strip number two. The mower refused to start. I hoped my neighbors weren't peering between their blinds watching me, as I acted like I knew what I was doing, checking everything I could possibly think to check. As a last resort, I unscrewed the gas cap and looked to see how much gas was left in the tank. It was almost empty. Another big 'Oops!' After filling up the gas tank, the mower and I were on our way. After my next grass deposit, I encountered another problem. When I tried to start the mower this time, the chord only extended a few inches before it felt like it got hung up on something. Once again, I began reasoning through what could possibly be wrong. As a last resort, I turned the mower on its side and peered at the blade. Because the grass was so long, and I had attempted to mow too much at once, it had formed a 'nest' of sorts, making it impossible for the blade to rotate. I carefully removed the grass, finally realizing that I needed to follow Steve's advice, and empty the bag more often.
As I continued to mow, it dawned on me. Just as I had ignored my husband's advice, I often ignore God's instructions for my life. My husband had told me very clearly to empty the lawnmower bag after short intervals. In my desire to speed up the process, I convinced myself that I could mow more grass and have the same results. Instead, I was left with piles of grass clippings that took more time to clean up, and a lawnmower that wouldn't start because it was clogged with grass. If I had only followed the instructions... I tend to do the same thing in life. How often have I read God's word and clearly understood what it said, only to justify my behavior when I wanted to do things my way.
God is very clear in His word that He desires obedience. We show our love for Him by our obedience. John 14:15 says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Pretty straightforward, right? When I disobey God, I'm saying that I don't love Him as much as I love myself. I would rather do my own thing than submitting to His authority in my life. Just as there were consequences for mowing too much grass at once; unsightly piles of grass clippings, and a blade that wouldn't turn, there are consequences for being disobedient to God. The book of Numbers, in the Old Testament doesn't mince words, "...behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out." (Numbers 32:23; KJV)
Today I have a choice to make. Will I follow God's instruction book, the Bible, for my life? Or will I justify going my own way? The visual reminder of the piles of grass clippings in my front yard, serve as encouragement for me to obey God. Will you be obedient today?