A Beautiful Green Lawn

Eric Connors   -  

In my introductory blog post last April, I mentioned a hobby which has been recently rekindled from my long admiration for a lush, thick, green beautiful lawn. After graduating from high school, I worked a landscaping job when I started paying attention to lawns—the brilliant dark and light green stripes resulting from regular maintenance and careful mowing. Have you ever been to a baseball game and wondered if the grass was real it looked so good? I would love this for my yard, but the reality of time and money have always kept me from going too crazy with it.

But then last summer I noticed patches of a foreign looking grass in my lawn—an aggressive spreading grass called creeping bentgrass was taking over portions of my turf. It’s a different color and it falls over instead of standing up. I knew I had to get rid of it! Little did I know how much work it was going to be. The work began in August:

Herbicide applications. Sending soil samples to a lab. Then mowing the lawn real short, dethatching, raking and aerating. Putting down 1200 lbs of lime and overseeding. Fertilizing. Watering. Watering. Watering.

Did I say I wasn’t going to go crazy with it? It was a lot of work, and many times I just thought “This is ridiculous! What am I doing?” But by October the work had paid off, and I could really see a difference!

I share this passion of mine, partly because it’s interesting and enjoyable (most of the time) to me. But, I also have thought about some parallels between the growth of plants and the growth of the gospel in our lives. By the growth of the gospel, I’m talking the process of being changed into the image of Jesus by the Spirit.

The Miracle of Growth
Growth happens miraculously in the soil.

It’s fun to watch a seed finally germinate. There are these miraculous things happening in the ground that I have nothing to do with. For days and days there is nothing, but then—a blade here, and a blade there among bare patches of soil. Weeks later, there are thousands of little grass plants growing and thickening! I compare a before and after photograph and marvel at all that was happening while I was doing nothing.

While I was sleeping, while I was eating, while I was working, there was growth happening. Almost imperceptible, but all the time. It seemed to take forever—like the watched pot that never boils.

So is much of God’s work in us. His timetable seems so long (to us), but he is working nonetheless.

“…I am sure of this,” says Paul, “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

This encourages me to be hopeful and patient, because I know there is a miraculous part of growth that is happening under the soil—not just in my lawn, but in my heart.

The Pain of Weeds
I almost titled this post “I’m Trying to Stay Encouraged.”

Why? As this year’s Spring moved into summer, I started noticing the imperfections in my lawn—invasive grasses & weeds. The worst of it was that the creeping bentgrass crept back in a huge way. I could not ignore it. “What?!” I’d murmur in exasperation. “Was my work last Fall for nothing?” (My hobby now becoming less life-giving and joyful.) So, I now had to completely kill off large sections of my yard and start over. After last year’s season of intense work, here I was wanting to coast this next season. Instead, I had to tackle portions of this project again.

This feeling of discouragement and weariness can also affect us in our spiritual lives. But dealing with weeds and unwanted invasive plants is a necessary part of managing the good growth of spiritual fruit. Sins of the flesh and the spirit. Idols of the heart. Desires of our flesh that compete with desires of the Spirit

One of the lawn guys that I follow for inspiration and information said one time,

“You’re not going to fix all your lawn problems in one season, so you just have to be patient and keep working at it. Over several season, the work will pay off.”

As a lawn guy, I needed to hear that, and weary Christians need to hear it as well. The process of being changed spiritually is slow and gradual like Paul said, since it continues until the day of Jesus Christ.


We are not passive as we wait for the miracle of growth.
We have a part in this work of heart renovation, weeding, fertilizing and watering. But as we do our work, we are encouraged to hear from Paul that our work is God’s work–initiated and propelled along by God.

Yes, this paradox is true for you–your work is God’s work. Paul says it:

“…it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

It’s that encouragement of grace that keeps us going. God longs for our spiritual transformation with more more tenacity than we do.

“He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us.” (James 4:5)

To sum it up, I say rejoice and marvel at the miracle of growth. Ask God to give you eyes to see the germination and beautiful green color of spiritual fruit in your life. Secondly, don’t be discouraged with weeds. Eradicate them for sure, but do so with the full knowledge that this work is a process. Be encouraged to know that your work is God’s work. A beautiful green lawn–a new creation in Christ–will happen slowly through thousands of ordinary moments of being humble before God.

My actual lawn and my “heart lawn” do not look like like the picture at the top of this screen. But I know that God’s work in heart is heading in that direction. (The actual lawn, I’m not so sure!)