Romans 5:3-5 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
Yesterday morning, we moved the cows across the road to another pasture. Our cows have been lowing a good bit lately. They have eaten the top off of the rich green rye grass in the field they have been in for the past few weeks, and they are ready to move across the road to a greener pasture. They have grass and they have nice hay, but they see that gorgeous green grass right across the road, and they want some of that. They stand at the fence and look at it longingly. They have grass, but the grass they have is not green enough for them. They see something better. They want something better. They want what they don’t have access to. What the cows do not realize is the fact that the grass doesn’t just grow that beautiful, lush green color by happen chance. No, it does not. My dear sweet husband spends hours cultivating the ground, planting seeds, fertilizing the ground, and the good Lord provides the watering. In order to get a beautiful green pasture, you have to fertilize and water it!
Too often, people want the greener pasture. They look within themselves, and they are not pleased with what they see. Perhaps it is the neighbor’s home that is bigger and better than the one they have. Maybe it is that shiny new car. It could even be a perfect relationship the person is craving. One might be observing the life of another and wishing he or she had that perfect life. We might see a person who is always happy and smiling and so full of joy, and a feeling of desire for that person’s life may be what we are seeking. Oh yes, if we look around, everyone’s pasture may look greener than ours, but let us take another look. That neighbor with the big beautiful home or a shiny new car may be strapped with a humongous mortgage or car note and let us not forget the cost of the insurance. He perhaps is working 12 hour days 6 or 7 days a week in order to make ends meet. He has the home and the car, but is he really enjoying those things? Is he enjoying life? We all know that there are no perfect relationships and no perfect lives. Each of us is a work in progress continually striving to thrive.
Why do we look for greener pastures? Eugene Cho may have answered this question best, “When the grass looks greener on the other side, it is the Holy Spirit telling you to water the grass that you are standing on.” Yep! That’s right. We need to water the grass we are standing on. We’ve got to apply a little fertilizer and pour a little water on our own grass. We do not need to be looking across the road yearning for a greener pasture. We need to take care of the one we are standing on.
How do we make our pastures greener? I know that I said we need fertilizer and water, but really, how do we make our own lives better. The fertilizer we need is the Word of God. If we continually stay in the Word and strengthen our relationship with the Lord, our personal lives will flourish. When we allow the Holy Spirit to wash us daily, renew our walk regularly, our personal lives truly begin to thrive. When we understand that God placed us on the pasture we are standing because that is where He wants us to be, and we learn to ask Him to guide our paths along that pasture, our whole perspective begins to change. We may learn that God placed us on this particular pasture because the grass was greener somewhere else. Perhaps we needed a season of brown grass to help us to grow in Christ. Maybe God put us on a brown pasture to help shape us into the person that He desires for us to be and the person that He knows that we can be. Possibly, God is merely waiting for you to fertilize and water the ground that He has given you.
Life is hard enough without spending our days looking over the fence yearning for greener pastures. We don’t need those other pastures. We simply need to fertilize and water our own grass! We need to learn to seek the Lord first, and then we realize that it isn’t all about us. No, my friends, life is about putting God first and allowing Him to guide and direct our paths. Don’t keep staring over the fence wishing and wanting for something you don’t have, but rather be content with what the good Lord has blessed you with. Keep fertilizing and watering, and soon you will find that you are standing on the lush green pasture you have been desiring all along.