I was out on one of my walks one evening, and I saw something unusual. Down below me, in her front garden, was an elderly woman, wrapped up against the cold, standing behind a lawn mower. It was a strange sight, seeing this tiny old lady about to start mowing her front lawn in the autumn twilight.
I almost kept walking, but I knew what I had to do.
“Do you need some help?” I yelled down to her.
She didn’t hear me. In for a penny, in for a pound. I walked down her steps, got her attention and walked across her lawn until I was standing next to her.
“Do you want me to mow your lawn?” I asked.
It wasn’t a big lawn. It wouldn’t have taken me long. I explained that I lived just down the road, and that I was often out and about for a walk this time of evening.
At first the lady responded warmly, and made comments about how kind it was of me to offer, but as the conversation went on, something changed. I recognised it. From somewhere, an element of fear had snuck into her mind. In a way I don’t blame her. It was probably intimidating, to have this ugly stranger appear out of the darkness and offer to mow her lawn for her. I mean, who does that? Perhaps she thought that I would want to be paid? I don’t know. The conversation went politely, but she said that she didn’t need my help. Never mind. I had done what was expected of me, and that’s all.
I walked on, a mix of conflicting emotions inside. There was the mild embarrassment that comes from having a gift rejected, coupled with the instant self-criticism that told me that it was all my fault. Those were quite easily banished, and then I was just left with sadness as I reflected on how easily we reject the outstretched hand of God because we’ve allowed the Enemy to whisper lies of fear into our hearts.
On my way back, in the darkness, I saw that the lawn had been freshly mowed and the old lady was nowhere to be seen. This is the kind of thing that happens when you go walking with God.