A View from the Pew: Yard Work Is the Lord’s Work

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I came of age in central Florida where lawn maintenance is a year-round chore/opportunity. So when I see someone riding or pushing a mower, particularly in the summer, I can’t help but hold them in high regard.

Of all the thankless jobs laypeople do in churches, mowing the church lawn is one of the toughest. With a glass of ice water at hand, here are five reasons why those who take care of your church’s lawn, particularly during the heat of the summer, are doing the Lord’s work:

Care for the property. Why do we pour money and sweat into keeping our own lawns looking good? Whether it’s homeowner’s association rules, a sense of pride in ownership, compulsion for tidiness, or simply habit, the result is that our home is more appealing. We should expend at least as much effort for our church to look as though as its members care about its grounds. You can say “Everyone welcome!” on your sign, but if you can’t see the facilities for the untended landscaping, you send the opposite message.

Enduring the heat. You can mow in the morning and evening to avoid the heat of the day, but cutting the grass is an unavoidably sweaty job. Even those who are blessed with riding mowers require heavy hydration to complete the job. When given a choice, would you rather sit on your couch in air conditioning or ride a lawn mower for multiple hours? Folks who choose to help the church in this way are demonstrating service in a tangible, largely uncomfortable way.

Practicing Mindfulness. I’m not sure when the practice of “prayer walks” started, but just as some people walk their church’s buildings and grounds praying for the people and ministries there, I have known the people who take care of the grounds to do the same while cutting the grass. When you physically exert yourself to care for the church property, you become more aware of its purpose and its place in the community. You become more invested and work harder to see its mission fulfilled.

Attention to Detail. The words every grass cutter hates to hear: “You missed a spot.” Those who take care of the church’s lawn do so through a lens of love. Scanning the grass to make sure no spot is missed and hoisting a weed trimmer to take care of the grass near the trees, posts, fence lines, and sidewalks is an important part of the job. Church landscaping maintenance is not a job for the lackadaisical or inattentive.

Recurring Need. This is one job at your church that is never done. No matter how many times you’ve mowed the grass, it will always need mowing again. It requires consistency, discipline, and responsiveness to unique conditions. Churches need more of these qualities in its members, and those who take care of their church property have a lot to teach us.

This month’s installment of “View From the Pew” is dedicated to my church’s seven-member lawn mowing committee of dedicated, well-hydrated, selfless people. Our church buildings have a relatively small footprint on a mostly grass acreage, and they do a remarkable job of taming the grasslands of State Bridge Road.

Whether you outsource this job to a service or have a dedicated person or group, take time this summer to say “Thank you!” Perhaps you could even give it a turn yourself. You may find a new way for you to serve.

Lance Wallace_for_webLance Wallace is a Baptist layperson and member of Parkway Baptist Church in Johns Creek, GA, does media relations and issues management at his day job, and blogs at newsouthessays.com.

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