Sunday, July 3, 2016

The other side of the fence

From my position on the wrong side of the fence my neighbor's yard looked lush and green. And I looked green with envy. My neighbor's yard didn't appear to have a single brown patche...mine had multiplying bald spots. My neighbor's yard looked perfectly pruned, clipped and sculpted in all of the right places. The landscape in my yard was scraggly and sparse.
As I peered through a hole in my fence, giving me a glimpse into the life and lawn of my neighbors, I became discontent with my own yard. It looked so inferior compared to the neighbor's. In the yard next door I assumed they must have superior soil and the perfect balance of shade and sun. I imagined that their yard, full of blooming flowers and healthy shrubs, must attract the most beautiful birds and even butterflies. The fence kept me from seeing the whole picture of my neighbor's yard but I was sure it was a Garden of Eden here on earth. Somehow my neighbor lucked out. Their lot happened to land on the ideal growing conditions. I became convinced that my lot had landed on a patch of infertile soil.
For a long while I just sat at the fence and lamented my land's lack of lush landscape. I squinted through the peep-hole in an attempt to see more of my neighbor's yard. Every flower made me more jealous. I felt gypped. Why had I received the short end of the yardstick? As I watched my neighbor's yard bloom I sunk into a slumped seat against the side of my fence. I saw no point in tending to my own lackluster lawn. Instead I lived in the land of want and desire where the focus was on my less-than lot.
But then one day my neighbor invited me over. I wandered into their yard, the garden oasis I had admired from afar. My neighbor showed me around the property. The peeks and glimpses I had gathered from the peephole came into full view. The yard was magnificent. The hedges were trimmed and pruned. The grass was luscious and freshly mowed in perfect rows. Every rosebush was in full bloom and not a wilted flower could be found. There was even a garden of herbs full of fragrant and vibrant greens.
Then I looked at the soil and surveyed the sun. It looked a lot like mine. The soil wasn't anything special. The sun and shade weren't ideal. How could my neighbor's lawn be so beautiful and full?
And then I saw the shed. I had never noticed it before. I couldn't see the shed from my yard's side of the fence. In that shed were tools, hoses and the evidence of hours worth of labor and love. My neighbor's yard was in full bloom because of what was in that shed. There wasn't anything miraculous about the soil, sun or shade. The miracle was in the shed.
To complete my tour of my neighbor's yard he pointed to the shed that made the yard. He told me how he had built that shed to hold the vast array of tools and supplies he needed to make his yard grow. My neighbor took me into the shed's interior to show me the special equipment used to tend to each flower and nurture each bush. My neighbor seemed more excited about the shed then the yard. The pride and joy he had for the results in his lawn were evidenced in his love of the shed.
I left my neighbor's yard with a lesson in gardening and a truth for life. A lush life doesn't just happen because of luck or good soil. The good life is cultivated in the shed - God' shed.
God has given my life's yard everything it needs to grow lush and bountiful blossoms. I don't need a different set of circumstances or more fertile soil. I have the ideal conditions because I have the foundation of Christ and the indwelling of HIS spirit in my every root and branch. Now all I need to do is get in the shed and tend to my yard. The tools are all there, I just need to use them. The land is perfect for cultivating, I simply need to break out my tools and get to work.
My neighbor didn't get his garden by sitting back and looking through the peephole of life. He didn't have time to stand at the fence. He was too busy pulling out all of the tools and supplies in his shed to make his own lawn a land of glory.
May I be as diligent a gardener as my neighbor.

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