May 23, 2012

My Lawn Mower Moment & Actionable Steps Toward Kingdom Impact

What would happen if you gave everything away?

My wife and I sold a home a couple of years ago with a little postage stamp lawn and we bought a home with 3 acres of grass.  My time and money spent in the Home and Garden section at the hardware store went up exponentially.  Young Life, a ministry near and dear to our hearts, occasionally has meetings at our home and enjoys the grass.  Our three boys can run and run.  Those things keep me excited about it.

But I have a problem: when I fire up the mower and go in circles for 4 hours, I get a bit grumpy.  For the first 18 months in our home, mowing really brought me down.  I would whine about doing it, and ride around with a poor attitude.  I’d look at my white fence in need of repair and get even grumpier.

For every animal of the forest is mine,
        and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
        and the insects in the fields are mine…
"Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
        fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call on me in the day of trouble;
        I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
                                    Psalm 50:10-15

It is so funny how we slap up our fences and surround “our property.”  Somebody else was on this land before me and I certainly can’t keep my boundaries forever, yet even as we drive through the vast expanses of the West, every acre is fenced in.

Riding on my mower I prayed this prayer: Lord, this is your land.  I will mow to bring you Glory. Does my lawn bring you a smile?  Can I mow in a manner and with an attitude that is pleasing to you?

This was my lawn mower moment.  My mowing experience has changed.  It has become a restful, peaceful time where God speaks to me.

"So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
                                                1 Corinthians 10:31

My mowing is one example, but scripture calls us to “do it all for the glory of God.”  The more we do for His Glory, the more it will change our lives, draw us and others closer to Him, and bring praise.  So here are actionable steps to move forward, bringing glory to the One who made you in specific areas of life.

Checkbook Checkup:  We can make meaningful gifts to bring Glory to God.  We can make donations to non-profits that make a difference now or we can invest in God’s Kingdom and change lives for Eternity.  Your gifts are important and our checkbooks should reflect this.  BUT, the verse doesn’t say do 10% for the Glory of God.  How can my purchases in Lawn and Garden glorify God?  How can my utility payment glorify God?  My mortgage and other payments on debt, can they glorify Him?  Most definitely, but it takes a bit of a mental shift.  Take your checkbook, your credit card bill and your budget.  Line by line, think and pray about each item.  How can this bring honor to you, Lord?  Can I make a few minor adjustments to honor You more with the things this money is buying?  Are there purchases here that dishonor You?  Listen and act.

Time Triage:  It is easy to fill my time with stuff that barely matters today, let alone in Eternity.  What apps on my phone take up the most time?  What if I replaced just a smidgen of that time with reading the Bible from my YouVersion Bible App?  Should I delete any apps that dishonor you?  What about TV and Cable?  Do I honor you with that?  What if for 3 months I skipped out on cable and sent a few hundred dollars on to save lives for Eternity?

Doing Kingdom Work in a Secular World:  For me, there was not a more mindless task than my mowing.  Yet, when I gave it to God and did it for His Glory, it changed me.  Certainly if we can honor God in our mowing then we can honor Him in all of our time.  How can you make an impact for the Kingdom in your work?  Instead of asking for affirmation from others, what if you asked the Lord, “Am I honoring You in this today?  How can I be more effective?”

This all comes from a heart that is struggling to find answers to each of these questions.  I am about the last one on Earth qualified to preach on this, but because God provides us with everything that we need for life and Godliness, because He has richly provided everything for our enjoyment, I can make a difference.

Randy Alcorn describes life by drawing a dot.  From that dot comes a line with an arrow pointing to the right.  The line and the arrow are Eternity.

How can I move my focus everywhere from the dot to the line?

How have you done it?  Where are you struggling?  Share your lawn mower moment.
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