If I were a song writer I would write a country song with the title of this blog post. When I was younger I was obsessed with mowing the lawn. It could be that one of my first jobs was to mow, at times, sixty hours a week, on a college campus where I worked. There is satisfaction seeing a nicely mowed lawn, but to what end?
Ecclesiastes 1:2–9 (LEB)
2 “Vanity of vanities!” says the Teacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!” 3 What does a person gain in all his toil with which he toils under the sun? 4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth stands forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down; to its place it hurries, and there it rises again. 6 The wind goes to the south and goes around to the north; around and around it goes, and on its circuit the wind returns. 7 All the streams flow to the sea, but the sea is never full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow. 8 All things toil continuously; no one can ever finish describing this. The eye is never satisfied with seeing, and the ear is never filled with hearing. 9 What has been—it is what will be; what has been done—it is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.
One day I had the intention to cut all the grass in the ditches in front of our house, which could easily be a four hour job. My daughter asked if we could go fishing, and I told her we couldn’t because I need to mow the ditches. All she said to me is “Why?”. It was a deeper question than she ever realized, we went fishing, and I scarcely cut the grass in the ditches any more.
The point is that we have a very short time on this earth. Do we want to spend a large amount of our time doing meaningless work, or should we look at things differently? Solomon found that all toil is profitless and repetitious, and later he realized the most important duty in life.
Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 (LEB)
13 Now that all has been heard, here is the final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Solomon was quoting Deuteronomy. It was the duty of every king of Israel to write their own copy of the Torah. Solomon was very aware of the commandments of Yahuah, even though he broke many later in life.
Deuteronomy 5:29 (LEB)
29 If only they had such a mind’; that is, to fear me and to keep all my commandments at all times, so that it will go well for them and for their children forever.
Solomon mingled himself with traditions of foreign gods much like the church does today. The result of this great sin was that it angered Yahuah and He split Solomon’s kingdom. What do you suppose will happen with those who do the same things today? The holidays the church celebrates are all rooted in the traditions of these same gods that became the stumbling block of Solomon. Each generation becomes more wicked than the last.
1 Kings 11:4–8 (LEB)
4 It happened at the time of Solomon’s old age that his wives guided his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully with Yahweh his God as the heart of David his father had been. 5 Solomon went after Ashtoreth the god of the Sidonians and after Milcom the abhorrence of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of Yahweh and did not fully follow after Yahweh as David his father. 7 At that time, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, on the mountain which faces Jerusalem and for Molech, the abomination of the Ammonites. 8 Thus he did for all of his foreign wives, offering incense and sacrificing to their gods.
Solomon did not keep “my covenant and my ordinances which I have commanded you”, therefore the kingdom went to ruin. This is what happens to our lives when we live in disobedience to the covenants of God.
1 Kings 11:9–11 (LEB)
9 Yahweh was angry with Solomon, for he had turned his heart from Yahweh, the God of Israel who had appeared to him twice. 10 And he had commanded him concerning this matter not to go after other gods, but he did not keep that which Yahweh commanded. 11 So Yahweh said to Solomon, “Because this was with you, and you did not keep my covenant and my ordinances which I have commanded you, I will certainly tear the kingdom from you, and I will give it to your servant.
I am not implying cutting grass is an evil thing to do. I am only using it as an example to point out how meaningless it is in the scope of eternity. We have work that is necessary to function in daily life, but don’t get caught in the trap of being obsessed with these time consuming jobs that are so insignificant when we look at “the whole duty of man”.
Matthew 16:26–27 (LEB)
26 For what will a person be benefited if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what will a person give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and at that time he will reward each one according to what he has done.
The parable of the sower uses the analogy of farming to bring a very important point across to the listeners. Yeshua relates much of His teaching to agriculture. It is a timeless occupation that brings one closer to the ways of God. Producing food for people to eat is more noble than maintaining a lawn, in my opinion.
Mark 4:3–9 (LEB)
3 “Listen! Behold, the sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened that while he was sowing, some seed fell on the side of the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 And other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up at once, because it did not have any depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose it was scorched, and because it did not have enough root, it withered. 7 And other seed fell among the thorn plants, and the thorn plants came up and choked it, and it did not produce grain. 8 And other seed fell on the good soil, and produced grain, coming up and increasing, and it bore a crop—one thirty and one sixty and one a hundred times as much. 9 And he said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Yeshua gave us these parables so “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear!”. This parable should be self explanatory to those who study God’s word; however, many may not be able to relate the word of God to seeds being planted in various places.
Isaiah 6:9–10 (LEB)
9 And he said, “Go and say to this people, ‘Keep on listening and do not comprehend! And keep on looking and do not understand!’ 10 Make the heart of this people insensitive, and make its ears unresponsive, and shut its eyes so that it may not look with its eyes and listen with its ears and comprehend with its mind and turn back, and it may be healed for him.”
Yahuah will eventually blind people to the truth if they continually disregard His instructions. These people invent their own self righteousness. In the following passage of the letter to the Romans, Paul is speaking to those who knew the requirements of God, but ignored them. Specifically, this is the scattered northern kingdom, also called the House of Israel, who left Yahuah to worship other gods and was cut off, and it applies to those in the Christian world as well.
Romans 1:27–32 (LEB)
28 And just as they did not see fit to recognize God, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do the things that are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greediness, malice, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malevolence. They are gossipers, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boasters, contrivers of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, faithless, unfeeling, unmerciful, 32 who, although they know the requirements of God, that those who do such things are worthy of death, not only do they do the same things, but also they approve of those who do them.
Yeshua, commonly transliterated to “Jesus”, explains the parable of the sower to His followers.
Mark 4:13–20 (LEB)
13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones beside the path where the word is sown, and whenever they hear it, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 And these are like the ones sown on the rocky ground, who whenever they hear the word immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but are temporary. Then when affliction or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among the thorn plants—these are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word and it becomes unproductive. 20 And those are the ones sown on the good soil, who hear the word and receive it* and bear fruit—one thirty and one sixty and one a hundred times as much.”
It is very important to study God’s words and apply them in our lives. We can be easily distracted and deceived to follow a false gospel, ignoring the things Yeshua told us to do while we think we are actually doing them. “And the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word and it becomes unproductive.” If we are not careful to continually have our mind fixed on the things of God, what we know will escape us. This is similar to our minds being given to a strong delusion or a “debased mind”.
Mark 4:23–25 (LEB)
23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” 24 And he said to them, “Take care what you hear! With the measure by which you measure out, it will be measured out to you, and will be added to you. 25 For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
Take time out of your busy mowing schedule to get closer to the living God, Yahuah; learn what He says then do it. Sections of tall grass produce clover, daisies and flowers that you may have never before noticed. When one follows the instructions of God, nature will cooperate. Learn to also cooperate with nature instead of fighting against it.
Conforming to the ways of the world and not taking time to learn God’s ways will lead to destruction. The Sabbath day is a great gift Yahuah gave to us so we could forget about our toiling and lawn mowing, and focus on resting our souls, spending time meditating on our purpose and His words. Repent and believe the gospel!
Photo by Lars Schneider on Unsplash
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