Valuable life lessons courtesy of Sears, Roebuck and Co.

After much urging from my family, I bought a new lawnmower last week at the local Sears store. Like I told Cut the grassmy wife, I’m very comfortable buying electronics, but buying tools and machinery leaves me more uncomfortable. I looked at several stores before we settled on the 625 series Craftsman mower.

My current mower, a Snapper, I bought 13 years ago for $75 from one of my neighbors. He used to go to estate sales and buy lawnmowers and then fix them up. So I don’t know how old this mower really is, but I got a great deal on it and it has run for years. Still, my family hates it because it is loud and is not the easiest to push around the yard. I’m the only one who mows our yard, so I don’t care. But now that the kids are old enough, we decided it was time to get a more family-friendly mower. And now the time has come.

Because I want to use my new mower the right way, I’ve been reading through the owner’s manual. You know, how to use it correctly, maintain it and generally avoid cutting off a needed toe or finger. As I’ve read it, I realize that it is sort of like a bible of lawn mowing. There are things to do and things not to do on the path to happy mowing. Here are some of them that I’ve read:

  • If you feel uneasy on a slope, do not mow it
  • Clear the area of objects such as rocks, toys, wire, bones, sticks, etc. which could be picked up and thrown by the blade. Bones? Maybe cutting the grass isn’t the problem.
  • Be sure the area is clear of other people before mowing. Stop the machine if anyone enters the area. That’s not a great incentive to get that lawn mowed: “I saw someone while I was mowing so I stopped.”
  • Never direct discharged material toward anyone. It’s a lawnmower, not a gun.
  • Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them. So true. That is, unless it’s summer, they’re teenagers and they are watching television.
  • Never run a machine inside a closed area. It’s easy. The lawnmower is for the grass, the vacuum cleaner is for the carpet. Lawnmower outside. Vacuum inside.
  • And finally: Mower blades are sharp and can cut. And you thought this machine was for BENDING the grass.

Staying married is not about staying in love

John Piper has an upcoming book on marriage that is based on a sermon series he did last year at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Based on what I’ve heard of those messages, it should be excellent. In one of his messages, Piper talks of the wonder of marriage:

Marriage is more wonderful than anyone on earth knows. And the reasons it is wonderful can only be learned from God’s special revelation and can only be cherished by the work of the Holy Spirit to enable us to behold and embrace the wonder. The reason we need the Spirit’s help is that the wonder of marriage is woven into the wonder of the gospel of the cross of Christ, and the message of the cross is foolishness to the natural man, and so the meaning of marriage is foolishness to the natural man (1 Corinthians 2:14).

And because of that thinking, we are confused about what is intended by marriage. He explains in the following excerpt from that message: