The Grass Next Door
In this season of green lawns, I was reading something interesting the other day that I want to share with you. The writer states, “In her column, Ask Marilyn, Marilyn Vos Savant gave an interesting perspective on contentment. One reader wrote in about a unique experiment she had conducted after being dissatisfied that her neighbour’s yard looked better than her own. She did what few have done and walked next door to look back at her own grass. When she stood in her neighbour’s yard, the grass in her own yard now looked greener than theirs so she asked, “Why does this occur?”
Marilyn replied, “The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence because you’re not close enough to see the dirt.” Most of the time, things look better for others simply because we can’t see their dirt.
This little illustration took me back to the words of Jesus as He was restoring Peter in John 21. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumour spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (John 21:18-23 NIV)
I am not talking about wanting a problematic health situation or a financial or social situation to change. Of course we do and so does God. I am talking, this morning, about people wanting to change healthy situations that just don’t meet their expectations.
So what can contentment do help us? It counteracts needless anxiety. It breeds joy. It breeds peace and it breeds productivity.
Contentment helps us focus on what God is doing now in your life and where He wants you to go from here - His will.
Contentment fuels trust and an eternal perspective. Let God determine what success is all about. Believe me, eternity will present a lot of surprises.
Contentment breeds a giving spirit, a spirit of compassion. What about the woman whose grass looks greener? Often as we look closer we find out his/her life has gaps (dirt) that make it not as green as we thought.
Contentment allows us to truly love and it is God’s love that will free us.
Contentment releases us to be productive – to use our gifts and talents, the resources he has given us, to be creative, to glorify God and to empowers others.
Contentment helps us see ourselves and others in a positive light, to give God the glory and to rejoice in His sovereign plan. As Paul says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” I Timothy 6:6 (NIV)
I close with this quote, “A great deal of what we see depends on what we are looking for.” As we look, may we rest in God’s love and sovereignty and what He is doing in our lives today.
Have a great Monday. Remember, God loves you – Pastor Ralph