Some years ago I read an account of a farmer who had milk cows. The cows had been placed in a field with lush green grass, but the farmer noticed that it wasn’t long before they were enduring the pain of barbed wire to reach the grass on the other side of the fence.
He also noticed that not too long after he moved them into the new field they began reaching into the field they recently left.
This got him thinking.
He was in the habit of feeding his cows grain and hay at milking time. He discovered that the cows wouldn’t touch some of the hay because it had not been cared for properly.
What if he were to strategically place the hay just outside the fence? Would the cows eat it? Would they endure the pain of the barbed wire to get at it? Yes.
How many times have we been just like those cows? The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, but is it?
Maybe it is the angle from which we are looking. Maybe it is the fence around the grass that makes it more appealing.
The late Erma Bombeck once said, “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.” Now there’s an appealing thought.
Once, I bought a “lush green” actually it was silver gray car from a man in Florida. It had low mileage ... less than 15,000. The paint was discolored from sitting in the sun, but I knew a little rubbing compound would remove the blemishes. The inside was immaculate. The tires had plenty of wear left.
I discovered later, however, that the paint wasn’t just blemished, it was nearly gone. I had to have the car repainted.
Then on a trip from Atlanta to Kansas City, I had a rear tire come apart. I was still 200 miles from Kansas City. I prayed a lot for the next four hours as I decreased my speed. I replaced the whole set.
A short time later the fuel pump went out. It was very expensive. By now my lush green car was becoming brown, dead, dry grass.
Has this happened to you? How many times have we invested in something we had to have only to use it a few times and then try to find a place to store it among all of the other things we just had to have?
A friend said, “Do you want to buy a boat? You’d be better off to go down to the dock and throw a bunch of money into the Kenai River. You’ll feel better and you won’t have the headache of ongoing upkeep and expenses.”
Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death,” Proverbs 14:12 NIV.
“Figuratively, the term (death) expresses the idea of ruin and destruction, especially when contrasted with the desirable notions of life, prosperity, and happiness,” according to The Complete Word Study Dictionary.
Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:19-23 NIV.
It is apparent that the reason we see greener grass on the other side of the fence is that our eyes are bad. Our perspective is distorted. Distorted vision comes from wrong settings in our hearts.
Before we connect with God, we live for self. It is all about what we want and what we can get.
Spouses and children can suffer from neglect. Friends can become alienated. Finances can become strained.
The self-appetite is so strong it will allow little to get in its way. As with the cows, we tend to have an appetite for what looks good, but does not satisfy. And with each disappointment comes more frustration and emptiness.
Jesus came to change the settings in each of our hearts and correct our vision. He beckons us to turn around. Instead of trying to get into new pastures, he wants us to take a second look at the field we are in. Instead of striving to get life, he wants us to accept the life he gives. He replaces our fruitless striving with a drive to reach for that which brings lasting satisfaction.
We must learn to trust his leadership. After all, he is the Good Shepherd. He knows were the lush green grass is. It’s the Shepherd’s job. Jesus says, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness,” John 10:10 NLT.
What’s the color your of grass? Are you truly satisfied? You can find Jesus’ color at church this Sunday.
This just might be the time your eyes are filled with new light and you discover lasting satisfaction in the lush green field of his choice.
Wm. Bruce Hardesty is pastor of Soldotna Church of the Nazarene, 229 E. Beluga. Sunday School is at 10 a.m.; worship is at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m. For more information, call 262-4660.
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