To water or not to water?

Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the rays of the sun and watch helplessly as my lawn withers, or to turn on the sprinklers and spark life that I’ll have to mow down in a few days.

Shakespeare wasn’t thinking about Kentucky bluegrass when he wrote Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, but I’ve been thinking about it as the spring rains have tapped out and summer heat is starting to pummel my lawn into scorched submission.

Every year, I play this first-world game of chicken to see how long I can wait for the first watering of the season; sort of like seeing how close to empty I can drive my car. So far, I’ve made it into June. Not bad.

To water means I’ll keep the lawn alive, along with all the mowing, trimming, fertilizing, aerating, overseeding and insect controlling that come with it.

To not water means death. I won’t have to worry about the burdens of lawncare but I will have to wrestle with the wasteland I once called a lawn.

My lawn is lamenting. It’s time for me to listen.

Watering the grass is a small problem but all matters that involve life and death, even something as trivial as lawn care, force us to ask some questions about action and inaction.

It’s been heating up outside in more ways than one over the last week or two. We’ve seen high temps and early curfews right here in Gretna, USA. Sooner or later, we all have to make some choices about what we’re going to do with our lawns.

And I’m not talking about bluegrass or fescue.

Do I say something or say nothing? Do I reach out or do I pull back? Do I ask questions or assume I know the answers?

Only one has all the answers, and He’s always up for an honest conversation with anyone who has “ears to hear.” Jesus often used that expression in His teaching. He didn’t want His words to go in one ear and out the other.

But God’s teaching often falls on deaf ears because we think we’ve heard it all before. If that’s the way you approach a conversation, either with God or with someone who sees an issue differently than you do, you won’t hear a thing.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)

God’s saying we can’t be angry. He’s not saying we can’t have different opinions. He’s just warning us about anger. We’re quick on the keyboard to voice our vitriol toward those those who disagree with us. But what would life look like if we listened first?

It might look like God intends His lawn to look: a colorful, diverse, thriving human ecosystem where people love their creator with all their heart, soul, and strength, and love each other as much as they love themselves.

For life to look that good, we need God’s help.

When it’s unbearably hot and we’re dying in drought, the Lord listens to our laments and speaks to our souls. He offers to quench our deepest thirst with the living water of Jesus.

To listen or not to listen. That is the question. Opening our ears to God, and to each other, will turn on the water our sin-parched souls need to survive the heat.

Gregg Madsen is the Lead Pastor of Steadfast Gretna. Reach him at

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.