The Cutting Edge Mowing Mission
A wealthy landowner arose before daybreak to travel to a business meeting in a nearby town. He planned to return home at an unknown time later in the day to be the host of a luxurious dinner party. As he peered out his bedroom window, the hideous sight of overgrown greenery extended for acres and acres. His magnificent estate was less than presentable for the evening’s festivities. There was plenty of work to be done, but where would he find enough workers on such short notice?
Fortunately, he had four able-bodied sons who were beginning to stir as the glimmers of the morning sun fought to break in through their rooms’ dark curtains. Before leaving, the father of four gathered his sons together and instructed them to mow the entire property. Sure, it was a hefty task, but it could be accomplished with ease if they would work together. There were enough riding lawn mowers for each of them to be useful. One of the sons spoke up and asked, “What time will you be home?” He replied, “Whenever the meeting ends. But please, let me come home to find you doing it. I will reward each of you greatly.” “But Dad, it’s a hot day today. We are going to need water to stay hydrated and food to eat for lunch.” Each of the sons nodded along with looks of concern on their faces. “Yes of course. I know you need that. You know how we have refrigerators in every building, though, so take whatever you need to help you get the job done. Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will drink, just focus on mowing and everything you need will be there as you go.”
As the businessman pulled out of the driveway, his sons scrambled to get to work. Great headway was made throughout the morning, but the progress slowed dramatically as they lost sight of the purpose.
The first son became hungry and thirsty and decided to give up mowing to gather all the food and water he could find. Instead of only gathering what he needed, he ventured all about the property and packed several coolers and grocery bags full of supplies. He sometimes even rode the mower to the next location of water, but it was more of a “mow as you go” approach while focusing primarily on heaping up supplies. His activities were driven by the location of sustenance rather than by the location of unmown grass. He justified his method by reminding himself of how much his father had provided for him and how he surely would want him to work hard to gather it all. A few times throughout the day, he felt guilty that he was not doing much mowing. To quench the feeling of guilt, he gave some edibles out of his abundance to his other brothers so that they could continue mowing. But as for himself, he focused on working hard to maintain ample supplies to last him the entire day despite not knowing when his father would return.
After some self-examination, the second son decided that lawn care was not a gifting he possessed. Instead, he determined that he was better suited to clean out the old shed which housed the riding lawn mowers. Though not as urgent as cutting the grass, he knew this was also important to his father. He spent the remainder of his day throwing out garbage, rearranging tools, and tidying up the inside of the worn-down structure. The result would be nothing short of beautiful! He occasionally felt a bit uneasy that he was not mowing, but he took comfort in the idea that he was technically still “mowing” – he was simply mowing in his own unique way. After all, each son was different and had different skills.
The third son went inside to research riding lawn mowers and read up on his father’s land. If they were to be left in charge while he was gone, he wanted to make sure they did things right. He learned all about the property and how it had been acquired, even stumbling upon the original closing statement from the land purchase. He discovered the ideal mowing speeds for various types of grass and learned to explain in detail each part of the machines and how they worked. As he studied, he came across family history and dug deeper into a question that intrigued him: Had he chosen to mow the grass? Or did his dad choose him to do it? He encountered momentary doubts as to whether he was obeying his father by sitting inside reading, but he constantly reminded himself of how important it was to know everything there was to know about the elaborate estate.
The final son remained convinced that he should mow until there is no grass left to be mowed. Despite plenty of distractions, he fixed his mind on completing the work he was given. He made occasional stops to pick up food and water as needed, but he kept pushing forward. He also helped briefly to clean out the old shed so that he could gain access to another riding lawn mower. He was no expert, so to ensure he was approaching the project effectively, he often consulted the map of the property as well as the manuals that accompanied the machines. His activities were driven by the location of unmown grass rather than by what was most comfortable or convenient. As the mid-afternoon sun beamed down, he looked around and saw three vacant lawn mowers sitting in the middle of the pasture. Not wanting to lose much time, he quickly found each of his brothers and asked them to come help. The first brother ridiculed him for being irresponsible by spending all his time mowing rather than stocking up on food and water for later in the day. His tone softened, however, and he conceded that his brother’s mowing efforts were honorable and noteworthy. Nevertheless, he declined the invite to join in the work. The second brother insisted that he was helping and pointed to the immaculate shed he had worked so hard to clean. This brother could not understand why the emphasis was put so heavily on mowing when there were so many other ways to work. The third brother ran his fingers through his beard and argued the importance of deep knowledge and understanding. He shared insight about lawn mowers and continued on with other thoughts about his father’s property, but many of the ideas he shared were too complex to be beneficial given the urgency of the task at hand.
The fourth son made his way back outside distraught at the lack of focus shown by his brothers. There was still so much to be done and no one to do it! He called his father to alert him of the predicament and to ask him to send more people to help. His father had an idea! There were a few homeless men who sat outside the property to beg from those who came and went. “Bring those men in through the gates and teach them to mow,” he said. “I will pay them when I return, and they are invited to join us for the dinner party. I’ll be home soon.” The obedient son got back to work with new resolve. He invited the strangers in and gave them the outlook for the rest of the day. With a sudden gust of energy, the group hastened toward the completion of the task. A few course corrections were required along the way as a couple of the newbies were found idly driving over patches of grass that had already been fully cut. But they worked together to have the estate in pristine condition for the owner’s return. The fourth son had doubted at times that he was doing the right thing by mowing, but he consistently reassured himself with the words of his father.
The sharp sound of an alarm blared from the speakers that could be heard on all parts of the property. It signaled the opening of the front gate which was triggered by the push of a button in the father’s vehicle. He was met at the entrance by one of his sons along with a team of overjoyed visitors who had assisted in the sweat-inducing labor. “Well done!” The father exclaimed as he surveyed the freshly cut grass along the path which escorted him to his home. “Come quickly! I’ll show you the basement which has an abundance of food, water, and desserts! You can help yourself as we prepare for the party.” As he moved further along the path, he spotted another one of his sons stacking a large case of waters on a tower of edibles. There was an unbelievable number of crates filled with an assortment of food and water sitting out in the middle of the field. Puzzled, he asked his son what he was doing all day. The son replied, “I worked hard to make sure I had enough provisions for the day. It was hot and I did not want to become dehydrated. But I remembered what you said – never once did I worry about what I would eat or drink. I trusted that you had everything I needed.” While he had collected resources in a way that upheld the values of his father, he did not do what his father had asked. He would have said he was collecting resources to bring honor to his dad, but most of it was truly for the sake of his own comfort and security. “Son, I told you to focus on mowing and that the food and water would be there as you needed it. But instead, you spent your time gathering more than necessary, and it hindered your usefulness. When I said don’t worry, I meant don’t worry. I didn’t want you to become preoccupied with something other than mowing. But while you’re standing there, throw out all of that food and water. The waters are hot, and the food is expired. Didn’t you know I have much better stored up in the basement for tonight?” As the gates to the massive shed were opened to welcome the riding lawn mowers back to their home, another son emerged from the shadows and waved for his dad to come look. “Look at the inside of the shed! It is spotless! I knew you’d been wanting to do something about the mess in there.” Despite agreeing that it looked fantastic, the father remarked, “I thought I asked you to mow. Cleaning the shed was important, but mostly because I wanted to be able to get the mowers out and find the gasoline.” He then continued along the road until he arrived at the front of his house. As he stepped through the doorway of his towering abode, he saw yet one more of his sons sitting at the computer inside. Before he could address the situation, the intellectual young man spoke up. “I know everything there is to know about this property now. I know how the mowers work, I know what you paid for the land, and I even know the types of grass we have here!” While he was still speaking, the father reiterated one more time in front of all his sons, “I asked you to mow.”
The first few cars arrived, and the party began. Despite being labeled a “dinner party”, it extended into the wee hours of the night. The hardship of the day quickly gave way to jubilation and laughter as the guests continued to feast and be merry without an end in sight.
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14
He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the LORD of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10:2
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:29-31
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. Luke 12:35-37
Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Luke 12:43