Grass, we mow it. We fertilize it. We spread insecticide on it to prevent “bugs” from eating it and turning it from emerald-green to dead brown. Homeowners take pride in a lawn that is the same green as the area’s golf course. Thousands, no millions of dollars are spent on the things that make our lawns the perfect green. Americans spend 70 hours or more mowing the lawn each year. Another way to look at it, in 2014 Americans spent over 39 million hours on lawn work! In contrast, the average American spent a little more than 7 minutes on homework and research and equally dismal just 7 minutes daily in volunteer work.
My behavior, like my neighbor’s, contributes to these statistics. Mowing takes me nearly 2.5 hours each week, and as this piece is being written the sprinkler is watering the grass-so it grows more-to mow more.
It seems that we’ve lost our minds. Repeated trips back and forth on the grass around our house just to keep it all the same height, maybe even add alternating decorative stripes. What else could we do with our time, or money?
Two thoughts come to the front. The first is a temporary fix, mow less lawn, and plant native grasses and flowers on the rest of what used to be lawn. Really. Resist, stop all the mowing. There are an estimated 40 million acres of cultivated lawns in the United States. This number is four times the number of acres in the agricultural production of corn. Consider one strong reason to mow less. We have become alarmed at the rapid decline of the monarch butterfly due to habitat loss. Consider what may happen if 1/3 of our lawns became Monarch habitat.
The second thought is a permanent-forever solution. Even if you decide to continue the practice of maintaining a green lawn all around the house, this solution is one to consider. This afternoon on a walk with my wife my, thoughts about grass turned to a passage of scripture from the Bible. It refers to grass. Isaiah wrote, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8 We know what happens to grass that is not watered or given fertilizer. The withering and slow color change to brown is made even more rapid but a hot dry wind. Grass fanatics, like me, fret at best and worry shamelessly if rain does not fall or the sprinkler system fails.
What does Isaiah tell us stands forever? Grass? The object so many of us sweat and agonize to maintain a uniform beautiful green color all summer? Not grass but the Word of God. We slave to keep a lawn green for a summer. But, God’s Word is forever. It is ceaselessly eternal. A why question fits here. Why is God’s Word forever? Because God is without beginning or end. He has always been, is now and will be forever in the future. We do not have to strive or sweat and it is free to be read by everyone.
We have fixed our eyes on an earthly object, grass. Today, green grass and all the related lawn care that goes with it reminded me there is something far more significant than a growing season of green grass. It is the Word of God. Turn off the mower, pick up a copy of the Bible. If you have not read it before, begin with the Gospel of John. Read the words of the true living eternal God. He has a message of love and forgiveness for you.
These thoughts bring me to ask two final questions:
- What if instead of focusing our attention on grass that withers and fades we spent more time on something that stands forever?
- How would our lives be different if reading the Bible became a part of our everyday routine?
Native grasses are among my favorite plants. Where I live the native grasses are currently in flower. While they are always beautiful, this time of first bloom is especially glorious.
The featured image of this blog is Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) while the other two photos are of Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii).