What do you mean by “Lawnmower theology”? you might be asking…let me first tell you a story.
I was mowing the grass the other day.
I greatly enjoy mowing, it’s cathartic for me and it gives me time to think.
We just got a new lawnmower and I had to put it together before using it.
So I begin by putting the arm onto the mower body and attaching the pull lever to the extended arm. Then I put the nuts and bolts into the connector holes at the bottom of the arm that actually attaches to the base of the mower. Long story short, I merely tightened them with my fingers and did not use the tool needed to tighten it fully – I’m impatient like that sometimes.
I was really anxious to start up the new mower and get to mowing our neglected backyard. So I start it up for the first time, and it just purrs – it was wonderful (I know I’m lawnmower nerd). I begin to make my way around the yard, meticulously ensuring I don’t miss any wayward grass as I pass with the new machine. It was really starting to look good…and then it happened – the arm that I had attached with the nuts and bolts came loose. I had not tightened it enough and through the constant jostling and vibration of the engine, one of the bolts had come loose and was no where to be seen. I looked around in the tall grass and in places I had already mowed, I couldn’t find it anywhere – it was gone, *poof* vanished. I searched for another five minutes only to recognize that in my haste to get the job finished, I had lost a crucial component that held everything together. I had to make a run to the hardware store and purchase a new bolt and nut – only this time I used the appropriate tool (not my fingers) to tighten the bolt into place. Now, it’s not going anywhere!
Why do you I tell you this tale?
What’s the point?
I think our Spiritual Growth can be a lot like this lawnmower of mine; or rather, how we put this “Christian life” together. We are often impatient with ourselves and with God. We want to just get out there and live for him, and so we take shortcuts. I took a shortcut in assembling my spanking new lawnmower – I thought I had tightened everything down good enough only to discover I had misjudged my strength and the terrain around me. Perhaps in our lives this rings true too. We get ahead of ourselves. We cut corners and take shortcuts because we think we already know it all. We don’t take the time as we should in our Spiritual lives and explore the spiritual disciplines necessary for long-term spiritual growth and success. Instead we settle for the quick fix. We go to a service here or there and we think it’s enough – yet the things that hold our “Christian” lives together isn’t enough, and it’s certainly not strong enough either.
Why do we think we know better than God knows us?
Why is it that we become impatient with God when He seems to take a long time?
Do you get impatient with Him? I am embarrassed to say this, but I do sometimes.
I don’t always take the time I know I need with Him.
Sometimes I do all of the talking and I hardly ever hear what He has to say to me.
And so I get out there in life and I plod ahead full-steam only to realize I’m not as put together as I thought I was. I find that I, all too easily fall apart – because I didn’t take the time to truly tighten things down in my prayer life, or my faith walk. Sometimes I’m a mess…and it’s all my fault.
Have you been there?
Are you there right now?
I have to confess I’ve been there more times than I care to admit.
I’ve run so far ahead of God only to fall apart.
It’s in those moments that I realize just how much I need Him.
It’s also very humbling to know that I still have much work to be done within my life.
There are perhaps a few missing nuts and bolts that have to be replaced by God – but I have to be willing to let Him work on me. It’s painful sometimes to admit this.
It’s embarrassing to recognize that although I’ve been a Christian most of my life – I still need help, I still need work, I still fall apart from time to time.
Have you been running ahead of God in your life?
Perhaps you recognize right now that there are pieces missing in your life. That somewhere along the way you have taken a shortcut and you really aren’t as “put together” as you want everyone to think you are. The Holy Spirit still has work to do with us! He longs for us to expose those missing pieces, those broken pieces, the dirty old life that still remains. He wants us to surrender it all to Him. It won’t be easy – but in the long run we will be made whole without any shortcuts or missing pieces. He has something much better in store for us – if we allow Him complete access to us daily, even moment by moment.
So how about it?
Are you ready to put the lawnmower together the right way this time?
Something more to ponder today!
To God be the glory!