Mower Musings


By Katie Pippus

This summer, I worked for the parks department for the city of Estevan. I absolutely love my summer job because it is such a refreshing change from the demands of the school year. At my summer job, I get to spend my days working outside with a group of great people, doing mostly menial tasks. The best part of my job this summer was that I got to drive the John Deere mowers. I got to spend the majority of my summer on the mower, driving in circles for hours, and it was wonderful. Then I got an email reminder saying that I had an article to write and my summer brain went completely blank on what to write. Some of the best advice I have received about writing is to write about what you know. So as I was cutting grass at work one day, I started to consider how mowing in circles in the scorching, August sun could possibly translate into an article. The more I thought about it, I was surprised to find that there were many things I had learned about mowing that could be applied to living a spiritual life.

The first lesson I learned from mowing is that although driving in circles may feel like a pointless, waste of time it is actually a very efficient and effective way to mow vast stretches of grass. We have a large park in town called Torgeson Park and the first time we mowed it, I nearly lost my mind! We just kept driving around in circles, round and round. It felt like we had been mowing for hours and we were still driving the same section of grass. It felt like we weren’t making any progress at all. I think that it is easy for us to feel like I felt on my mower when we look at or lives. Often we wish that things would happen on our timeline instead of God’s or we wish that the people around us would just wake up and see what a life with God could do for them or you begin to wonder if you are doing anything in your life that is affecting the people around you. Although driving in circles on my lawnmower felt pointless, it was actually the most efficient way to mow the grass and when we finally got the section done and looked back, it was astounding to see how much we had done in a short amount of time. Isaiah 55:8-9.

The second lesson I learned on my mower this summer was that mowing in a group is way faster than trying to mow on your own. Days when there were three of us mowing in a line were the best because I would round the corner and instead of despairing at the sight of how much more I had to accomplish by myself, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much the other mowers had cut behind me. On the odd day that I had to mow by myself, not only was work lonely, but I felt daunted when I rounded the corner and saw all the grass I had left to mow. Just as it is more effective to mow in a group, it is equally important for Christians to be in community. In Genesis 2:18 it says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” It is easy to feel like you can manage on your own, but we were designed to be in community with one another.

Mowing has also taught me a valuable lesson about comparison. A riding lawnmower is built for a very specific purpose. It is designed to drive at lower speeds, it has three large blades mounted to a deck on the front, it has soft balloon style tires for driving on grass, and the gas tank is not terribly large so it won’t run for long before it needs to be refilled. If I were to try to race my mower against a sports car, my mower wouldn’t stand a chance because the two vehicles were built with for different, but equally important, purposes. Similarly, God has created each one of us with a specific plan and purpose. Too often, we don’t recognize our purpose because we are too busy comparing ourselves to someone who has been designed for a different purpose. The key is finding what makes you and listening for how God wants to use your specific gifts for him. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

The most frustrating part about my job this summer is that our equipment is old. One of our mowers is fourteen-years-old and its deck is set six inches higher than the other mower. So when you try to mow behind the old mower, it is impossible to tell what has been cut and what still needs mowing because it doesn’t leave an impression or even a trail of cut grass behind it. When you mow behind it, you have to guess where your line is and often end up missing giant sections or swerving all over to make sure that you find where you’re supposed to be. The danger of not leaving a trail behind for the other mower is a danger in our spiritual live as well. People around us are constantly searching, whether you think they are or not. The trail that you leave behind you in your day-to-day life can lead those around you to the Father. Like our old, ineffective mower, lukewarm Christians don’t leave a trail. Sure they follow the pattern, they drive in circles, but they leave nothing for the next person to follow. Revelations 3:15-16.

I learned a lot of things on my mower this summer. But the thing is, I never would have learned anything if I hadn’t been willing to get on my mower and drive in circles for hours in the Saskatchewan summer heat. It wasn’t glamourous and I wasn’t very good at it, at first. In the first few weeks, I was terribly slow; I was timid driving in traffic, and I even bumped a few things. But as with all things, practice makes perfect. The same is true of our spiritual walk. You may not feel like you have it all together, but the important thing is to trust the Father and to just go mow.

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” Genesis 28:15

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