I moved into a new house in a brand new neighborhood about a year ago. The houses went up, and people moved into their new castles. The construction workers moved on to their next project in another part of the city.
One of the items that you get with a home in a new development is the contractor’s best effort at landscaping. As you can tell from the tone of the last sentence, in my neighborhood sod and flowers were more an afterthought than art to the builder. In trying to go with the flow, I made the effort last summer to just do the best I could with what I had been given. I mowed grass and fertilized flowers and talked to my shrubs (talking to plants is good for them, right?). I looked forward to a horticultural epiphany the following spring.
So spring is here. In Texas spring comes early with warm days, plentiful rain and the renewed opportunity to grow stuff. I figured that my careful and deliberate efforts from the year before would pay off in a big way. The gardens of Versailles right in my back yard. All my hopes and dreams of a lush lawn came to a sudden stop at the end of March.
At first it was really subtle, the sprouts of little baby weeds in the yards of both of my neighbors. Surely, I thought to myself, they will make the effort to pull those little fellows. A couple of days later, the true danger of my situation became apparent. Instead of picking off the little dandelions one by one, each neighbor took the path of least resistance. Each side mowed their weedy yards, spewing their clippings all over my defenseless turf. Although I took steps to counter this insidious invasion, the damage was done. Today, I am the owner of a fabulous weed collection. My lawn will have to fight for its life from this day forward.
Trying to make the best of a bad situation, I have tried to draw some sort of spiritual parallel to the whole ordeal. I came across this verse:
Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Paul’s audience when he wrote this was a church that was in a city full of depravity. The immorality in Corinth was so bad that people on the outside had "verbed" the city’s name—to engage with a prostitute was to "Corinthianize." The church in Corinth was in a tough spot. Despite its surroundings, the people of the young congregation would have control over the company it kept. And according to Paul, their relationships would contribute to their steadfastness in good morality. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t associate with those outside the Church. We should, and we must, if we are to reach the world for Christ. But your major influences should be people who drive you toward good.
My analogy falls apart in that I can’t move my yard nor can I trade out my neighbors for people who will have a better influence on my grass. But I have changed my tactics in the last week: late at night when everyone was asleep—like a chlorophyll ninja—I put weed ’n’ feed on my neighbor’s lawn …