Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lawn mowing ministry

I live in a condo complex that was completed just after the fall of communism. It is a very nice complex with a much more of a community feel. Normally the condo association takes care of the exerior of the building and the grounds surrounding the building. The new found freedoms of that time showed themeselves in how the families in each condo building choose to deal with the community spaces.

In my building they decided that the communual grass cutting responsibilities should be divided as follows: There are 4 stairwells in my building and each stairwell is responsible to cut the grass in front of their building. Like many such plans they start off great and then over time they fall apart. So, by the time I moved in 7 years ago the grass cutting look something like a bad hair cut. One stairwell would cut "their part" and the other 3 would or wouldn't for who knows how long. Keep in mind that this lawn is a large piece of continuous grass right in front of my building. In the beginning I didn't have a lawn mower so I tried to pretend that it didn't bother me. Then about 3 years ago I couldn't stand it any more and I bought a lawn mower.

This was the beginning of the Lawn Mowing Ministry. For the last 3 years I have been mowing the grass (all of the grass) without saying a word. My original intend was to be a blessing and to deal with my own need to not look like I live in a slum. The 2+ hours of mowing turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought. I found myself grumbling in my head: "Why doesn't anyone show appreciation?" "Why can't they be gratful?" "Why doesn't anyone offer to pay for the gas?" and on and on. Sometimes my thoughts were even worse. On a good day I would catch myself and begin to pray for my neighbors and bless them. But nothing seem to change.

This summer was a particular challenge as at the beginning I was unable to do anything about the grass because of my leg. And the grass grew. And grew. And grew. And no one did anything. Then the bad hair cut lawn mowing technique began to surface again. And I grumbled.

Today I cut the grass and I started off grumbling. Then something amazing happened. One neighbor offered to give me money for gas. Though she didn't have change. I thought Oh, well. But she returned from the store in a little while with 20 zoltys, twice what I would have expected. Then I ran out of gas. I really didn't want to go all the way in the house to get my purse and keys and then drive to the gas station (the closest station is closed for remodeling). So, I decided to ask a different neighbor if he had any gas that I could have to finish the job. He said "Sure!" He gave me the gas, a new pair of gardening gloves and thanked me for cutting the grass (quite unusual). A different neighbor empathized with the large size of the task. Another neighbor came out to sweep the walk and keep me company. Another neighbor commented on how great it look. And probably the most encouraging was a neighbor who seldom says "Hello" (which is very rude in Polish culture) went out of her way to get my attention and say "Hello"

So what did I learn? A few things.
1. That I am continually fighting against my human nature that so easily can grumble and complain.
2. That obedience to the Lord's voice is always the best way to touch others hearts. In this case, simply to serve the people in my building by cutting the grass.
3. That humble service always brings about positive results. Maybe not as quickly as we would like but it does bring results.

Please pray that this service will open doors to the hearts of my neighbors to hear about a personal relationship with Jesus.

1 comment:

TravisM said...

Wow, that's awesome! :P