Our family is driving through central Montana at the moment, returning to the oil patch from a trek to Idaho to catch a quick visit with my amazing new grandson, Luke!
This little piece of the planet is typified by broad rolling hills, mostly treeless and blanketed with short prairie grasses that, from a distance, have the appearance of the fuzzy leaves of Lamb’s Ear. This time of year the autumn prairie is dry, turning the grasslands into a sweeping mat of yellow -brown bristles, speckled intermittently with black dots of Angus cattle.
As I watch them grazing over large expanses without a hint of green, I can’t help but muse over that old cliché, “The grass is always greener”.
Seeking greener pastures is a prominent theme in the human narrative. There seems to be an innate drive embedded in the DNA of mankind to strive for something better. The search for greener pastures has fueled both the building of empires, and the conquests that have dismantled them. It gave multitudes of immigrants the resolve to traverse perilous seas to a New World in hopes of a better life. And it is the same drive that continues to inspire midnight study sessions in halls of higher learning across the globe today.
The hope for something better is a powerful motivator. Whether or not reality bears it out in the end, our belief that the “grass is greener” enables us to stare daunting odds in the face and tackle even the toughest of challenges.
But what would compel one to climb that proverbial fence, if it were obvious that the grass on the other side was NOT greener?
My thoughts shift to my middle child, a 23 year old midwife living in an undeveloped country, serving underprivileged women. She could be here, wrapped in the comfort and affluence of the American culture; sporting the hottest jeans and debating the color of her next highlight while sipping a latte at some trendy coffee shop. But she’s not. She has chosen to be on the other side of the fence – the side where the grass is not greener. I choke back a tear or two at the thought.
Walking by faith is to choose the narrow path, even when it leads us to pastures less green. We can only find the strength to choose that path, when our eyes are fixed on something in the distance.
Beyond the tangible landscape, and only with spiritual eyes, we glimpse a place where the grass is not only greener; it is pure gold and radiant as the Son. It is the ultimate something better promised to those who choose to follow Jesus Christ, who left the greenest of all pastures to join us here in this dry and thirsty land—to die in our place so that we might have LIFE!