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3 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Lawn Care

Photo of Mark McCoyMark McCoy | Bio

Mark McCoy

Mark joined the Antioch Christian Church staff in Marion, IA, in 2015. He and his wife Erica have five children. Mark has undergraduate degrees from Ozark Christian College in Theology and Biblical Literature and a master's in leadership studies from Cincinnati Christian University. Mark loves listening to people’s stories, and he loves to walk with people as they grow into the amazing followers of Jesus and life-giving community that Jesus continues to create!

I am thankful to have grown up in Southeast Kansas. We reference the region because most people have never heard of the hometowns that interrupt the landscape. Because weeds were numerous, moisture was optional, and weather was temperamental, lawn care for many was summed up in one word: “mow.” Now that I live in Iowa, I have taken an interest in having a decent lawn. I am not aiming to win any awards, but I do want to respect my neighbors by having a lawn that looks nice.

Jesus spoke about things like planting and harvesting to illustrate spiritual principles. I feel like He has taught me some things through my observations, frustrations, and learnings in caring for my lawn that I would like to share with you.

First, if you are going to make the soil healthy, make sure you plant what you want to grow.

I have a couple of pine trees in my back yard that had effectively raised the level of soil acidity through the pine needles to the point where the ground was completely bare and unable to grow anything. Solution? “Spread some lime on it.” I did. What I neglected to do was plant grass seed on it. The next season, I had the most beautiful and lush weed patch I had ever seen. If you are going to make the soil healthy, make sure you plant what you want to grow!

I have seen some people begin to enjoy the health God provides—freedom from guilt and shame and isolation—but they don’t go on to plant God’s Word in their hearts. And the joy they start with (healing the soil) only causes the weeds to grow more plentifully in their hearts and minds.

Paul encourages us to consider ourselves “slaves to whatever we choose to obey.” He writes, “Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living” (Romans 6:15-18 NLT).

What are you planting? Use your freedom to connect with other Christians who are learning, living in Jesus, loving others, and leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ!

Second, plant what you want to harvest.

I have the privilege of having two fairly mature trees in my yard. There are some positives: beauty, shade, shelter for animals and birds. They also require care: they drop bushels of leaves, acorns, and various sizes of branches—some damaging. One stray leaf can wiggle its way through the grass, expose bare ground, and open the lawn up to weeds. One diminutive acorn, planted decades ago, can cause a person hours and hours of work, season after season.

I’m reminded of the power of a diminutive little belief. Good beliefs can produce years and years of blessing. Bad beliefs can produce a lifetime of heartache and disaster.

Do you believe God loves you? Do you believe God forgives you? Do you believe that the Bible is true and relevant to your life?

Do you believe that you are only worth loving if you are productive? Do you believe that love or respect is conditional?

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:1-3 NLT).

Third, be intentional.

If I want weeds in my yard, all I have to do is nothing. They don’t knock, ask permission, or wait for rain. They look for a tiny little spot of bare dirt and begin spreading. Rapidly. If I want healthy grass, I have to take time, pick out seed, fertilize, time it right, prepare the soil, and intentionally introduce it to lawn.

Isn’t that the way with life? Each of us have a limited amount of time, treasure, and talent. Paul writes, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:7-9 NLT).

Be intentional about what you are planting in your life!