Often we think of the principle of grace around Easter when Jesus’ death, resurrection and Atonement are talked about more often. But I am reminded of grace every Fall due to an insight I had on grace while I raked leaves with my children a few years ago.
Here was our experience:
My little family was scheduled for a service project at my sister’s house. We were going to rake her leaves. The day came, and it was cold and blustery and snow was eminent. I bundled up my kiddos the best I could with coats, hats and mittens. We headed out and as we drove up to my sister’s house and saw the lawn, discouragement swept over me. The whole front and back lawn were covered with leaves. I didn’t know how my small family was going to do this big task especially under the cold weather conditions.
Chad took the leaf blower and went off to blow all the leaves off the concrete and rock driveway. I was left to figure out how to engage four little kids in a monumental task. My kids were 8, 5, 3 and 1 at the time. My sister took my baby inside and the rest of started raking leaves. We struggled at first as we tried to figure out what worked and what didn’t (and to keep gloves and hats on). Holding the bag open was our biggest obstacle. Then once we thought of putting a bag into a garbage can that freed up one person and we moved much faster. Eventually we got into a groove and everyone had an assignment equal to their abilities. Croft had to pick up all the apples off the ground, Elle raked, and Crew put leaves into the garbage can. I toggled between raking and dumping and keeping kids on task. We worked hard, and the yard was looking so much better.
But despite our progress and hard work ethic (My kids did great. I was so proud of them), there was no way that we were going to get every leaf off that grass. Some leaves were small and broken and some were matted in because of moisture. The rake and our hands couldn’t get them all. Plus there was just so much lawn to do. After working for what seemed like hours, I remember looking up to assess the discouraging situation.
Just then my brother-in-law came out of his garage with a lawn mower, and he started mowing the lawn where we had already raked. The lawn mower was like a vacuum– it picked up all the stray leaves and green grass showed through. The lawn looked clean and every last leaf was mowed up. I felt so relieved that he was there to help us and to do what we could not do with our own hands.
As our family reflected back on that leaf raking experience, I was reminded of of Jesus and the Atonement and the role that grace plays in our life.
The Bible Dictionary says “grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.”
Our little family had done all we could do to pick up the leaves. We had worked and worked and done our best, but it wasn’t enough. We couldn’t rake up all the leaves. We couldn’t do it alone; we needed the lawnmower to help us out.
Just like the lawnmower, we need Jesus to pick up the pieces, make up for our weaknesses and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We need Him to make it all better in the end. We had extended our best efforts and the lawn mower was another power that came in to finish the job.
We needed a lawn mower to have a leaf-less lawn, and we need Jesus Christ’s grace to have a sin-less life.
Like it says in Moses 6:63, “all things are created and made to bear record of ” Jesus … even leaves.