It was green. It was yellow. It was shiny. It smelled like new and it was my first ever new motor vehicle. It was a John Deere lawn tractor. When I bought my house years ago, it came with a yard and not just any yard. The house included a one acre park like yard. Well it’s not really park like, but it is a huge yard from a lawn care perspective.
The house was purchased in the middle of winter so lawn care wasn’t even on our brains as my wife and I signed the required documents that made the humble little house ours. However, like it does every year in Minnesota, winter snows eventually give way to spring mud and the yard’s brown grass turned to many shades of green.
I remember sitting on my deck, all those years back, contemplating how I was to tame my overgrown yard. An ordinary push mower was not going to cut it. Oh sure it would cut the grass just fine, but I would need to spend hours upon hours pushing the puttering mower back and forth. Besides my yard has a hill large enough for snowboarding in winter and I wasn’t about to push the mower up that hill.
I then thought about getting a herd of goats. They would do a nice job of keeping the grass at bay and as an added bonus clean up any errant cans found in the yard. While I loved the idea of goats, my wife wasn’t so thrilled.
We finally settled on a new riding mower and my gosh what a mower we bought. It was everything I wanted in a mower. First of all I could drive it, second of all it had cruise control, and third and most importantly it had cup holders. A lawn mower with cup holders, I was in heaven. That first year I smiled every time I turned the key and got to mow the yard. Yard work wasn’t a chore it was an enjoyable hour outside.
Since this was the first motor containing item I had ever purchased I told myself the upkeep and maintenance was going to be flawless and that first year it was. I washed the deck after each use. Changed the oil at the recommended intervals, changed filters, plugs, belts and I tracked it all in the maintenance manual included with the mower.
While I flawlessly maintained the mower those first few years, I must admit that I no longer wash the mower after each use. I can’t remember the last time I changed the belt, and my maintenance logs that used to be meticulously filled out haven’t been touched in a few years. My efforts to maintain the mower have taken a back seat.
I was looking at the mower the other day and the seat is now torn, the deck is all scraped up from hitting rocks, the cup holder is full of grime from spilled drinks (who knew that when you combine a cup holder and an uneven lawn it becomes a recipe for spilled drinks), and the paint is starting to fade. Despite the mowers outward appearance and my lack of maintenance, it still runs and runs well. When I turn the key, it starts and when I finishing mowing it looks as if a laser guided pair of scissors was used to cut the lawn.
Sometimes we view our faith like a new lawnmower. When we first discover it or rediscover it, we try extra hard to keep it as perfect as possible. Careful attention is given to prayer, reading the bible, learning as much as we can about God, but as we grow in our faith it can become easy to neglect those things we picked up with such vigor all those years ago. It is in those moments of doubt or lack of zeal for prayer it becomes important to remember that the Faith you have still works and works well. For it is not God who gives up on us but it is us who gives up on God. And like the old mower parked in the garage, it still works even it is used only once a week.