One day, I was about 13, we could hear the neighbor’s lawnmower. Dad was at work, and mom and I were in the house. A little later, I noticed Al, our neighbor, mowing our yard. This act of kindness started events over the next few days, usually only found in sitcoms.
When I brought to my mother’s attention that Al was mowing the grass, she exclaimed, “What’s he doing?” and went to the window to investigate.
Mom rushes outside, asking Al why he was mowing our yard, and explaining to him, that his generosity was unnecessary.
“Oh, Mildred, it ain’t nothing. The weather is beautiful, and I’ve got nothing else to do, our yards are attached. I just kept going, no real reason to stop.”
The rest of the evening, my mom was obviously on edge. She was fidgeting with her hands; every few minutes, she would get up and looked at what Al was doing. After Al finished, she continued to look out the windows from time to time.
Mom was usually in bed when Dad came home from work, but not the night of the Great Al Mowing Crisis. The conversation went something like this –
“Why are you still up, is something wrong?”
“Al mowed our grass.”
“I thought it looked better than when I left.”
“What are we going to do?”
“Did you thank him?”
“Yes, I thanked him. I told him he didn’t have to do this, but he just kept going. So what are we going to do?”
“Next time I see him, I’ll tell him thank you.”
“No Clyde, he has done something for us, now we have to do something for him.”
As far as Al and Dad were concerned, the “thank you” was enough. However, mom spent the next couple of weeks trying to repay Al’s enjoyment of the outdoors that turned into our freshly mowed lawn.
She cooked them a pot of homemade noodles; she offered to walk their dog (they did not even walk their dog, he was just a little indoor mutt that ran around the yard sometimes), she went outside and played with Al’s children. Mom felt obligated to show some kindness to Al and his family because of Al’s kind gesture.
Christian, have you ever felt toward Jesus like my mother felt toward Al? Do you think of doing things for Him because of what He has done for you?
We can never do enough to pay Jesus back for dying on the cross for us, but gratitude often comes with a desire to do something in return.
Put the following verses together.
1 John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.”
John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
A desire of every Christian will be a desire to serve Christ. Because we love Him, because of a feeling of gratitude for washing our sins away, redeeming our souls, His forgiveness, and countless other things compel our hearts to serve Him.
Seriously ask yourself, “What am I doing for Jesus?” If you answer yourself with a set of blank stares, much stammering, or if the best you can come up with is, “I go to church sometimes” then you may be more like my dad with Al; say thank you, that is enough. However, there are times our hearts and spirits tell us, “Thank you is not enough.” Christian, Jesus saved your souls, washed your sins away with His blood, has promised a home in heaven for eternity to
you, He answers your prayers, and gets you through each day; yes, He deserves far more than a “thank you.”
If you conclude, your Christianity is more self-centered that Christ-centered, please do the following things.
1. Tell Jesus you have been more self-centered than Christ-centered. This acknowledgment is a confession of sin. By doing this, you are acknowledging the problem and expressing a desire for a solution.
2. Start praying and reading your Bible every day.
3. Ask Jesus where and how He wants you to serve. When you are in church, look around, look for any needs. Is one of the classes overly large, and a second teacher could make two classes of more manageable size? Do not worry too much about your talent; Christ will give you what you need if it is what He wants you to accomplish (Philippians 4:13). Maybe it is something outside of the church, but look, look all around for opportunities to serve Christ.
4. Turn your life into Romans 12:1-2.
To sum it all up — Al mowed the grass, Jesus died for your sins, both deserved to have something done for them.