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Get Your Eyes Fixed by Jason Daggett

As a kid, I used to watch a lot of baseball. I loved seeing the big leaguers get in the batter’s box, dig in, and get set for the ball to be delivered. I loved it all. Then I realized one day that the grass on the field was amazing. The different patterns and shapes that were on the fields were incredible. I was speechless one night when the Chicago White Sox came on TV and had the most intricate pattern I had ever seen. They had lines birthed by second base extending out to the fence that looked like the rays of the sun. I fell in love less with baseball but more with the grass patterns. They had even put the White Sox logo in centerfield. What a gorgeous sight! 

I had to know how to recreate those patterns, how to get the beautiful perfectly straight lines across my yard and the other yards in my neighborhood that I mowed. So, for the next five yards, I worked on cutting in straight lines. I started by trying to just use the edge of the sidewalk or driveway and just going with the pattern of the walkway. Then I would come back in the opposite direction twenty-one inches over and repeat until lawn perfection was achieved. Wow, what a mess! The first thing I discovered was the path I started with was not perfectly straight. I then learned that if the first cut path isn’t straight, the rest of the cuts just get farther and farther off. Lawn perfection was certainly not achieved after all! 

I puzzled for some time on how to get this straight. I thought of actually driving a stake in the ground and pulling a string to get a perfect line. It was a solid idea in theory, but not at all practical. I tried to just walk straight. I pushed the mower and made a conscious effort to go straight forward. Whenever I felt myself drifting, I would look down to correct my path. Then God spoke in a small voice about his friend, Peter. As I puzzled about how to get a perfect path, God reminded me of two different verses. 

Proverbs 3: 4-5, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

That is what I wanted, straight lines (paths) in my grass. Is that what Proverbs meant? Could God’s love of grass be the same as mine? This was exciting that the creator of lawns cared enough to put that verse in the Bible just for me. Wow!

Then I thought of Peter in Matthew 14. Peter is known for a lot, but his short walking on water gig will live in vacation Bible school curriculums for eternity. Peter took his eyes off Jesus and became a sinking rock. The Proverbs verse and the Matthew 14 story of Peter and Jesus hit me right between the eyes.

I grabbed my mower and went to the corner of the largest yard in my neighborhood. I picked a fence post on the opposite end of the 30-yard lawn. I stared at the post, started the mower, and walked straight at the post. I never blinked, never checked the ground to see if there were holes, I simply fixed my eyes on a target and went straight to it. My natural desire was to look down or to look back to make sure I was going straight, but I resisted that temptation. 

This yard always grew faster than the homeowner’s paycheck. The grass always grew taller than it should have been. When I got to the other side of the yard, I turned to see the status of my first line and was amazed. I was looking at a swath of grass that created a perfect 4-inch gulf in the unkempt lawn. And that swath was straight, laser beam straight! I turned and put the left side wheels on the edge of the swath and headed back the other direction. One hour later, as I was putting the mower in the back of my 1993 Chevy truck, a man stopped beside me and gawked in amazement at the perfect straight-line pattern. 

The man only said one word: “how?” I looked him in the eye and said you have to keep your eyes on Jesus! After a smile and shake of his head, he drove off. 

This was the start of a tradition that my family makes fun of me about to this day. After I cut a yard, the next time the family is going somewhere in our minivan, we drive by the yard and my wife and kids are required to give a heartfelt “ooooooh, awwwwww, wow…”

I started a new pattern of cutting that day. Each time I go to cut The Red Barn pastures, I alternate the direction that I cut. It is actually healthy for the grass to be cut from a different direction each time. The blade of the grass will start to lay down in the direction of the cut if cut in the same direction every time. 

Spiritual Applications: 

Our tendency as humans is to “lean on our own understanding.” It is easy to start taking back control of the reins and try harder to do right. Looking around at our circumstances and looking back to see where we have been will not help you get where you should be going. The best way to stay on a direct road to God is to fix your eyes on Jesus and walk every step with Him as your beacon. 

If this happens, and your life starts to look great, someone will stop and ask, “how?” Our job is to be able to point them to the target of our path. Then they can join us in the journey straight to God. This draw toward the beauty of your life is what a dear realtor friend calls, “curb appeal.”