2017-09-28 / Opinions

Do you send your grass out to be mowed; put your Christianity on full porch display?


Two good ol’ boys were sitting on the front porch lazily passing the day when a big truck hauling sod passed by.

“I’m gonna do that if I ever get rich,” one said.

“Do what?” his buddy asked.

“Send my grass out to get it mowed,” he answered.

Some of my favorite memories from growing up in the country were of times on the front porch, sitting around with family and friends on summer evenings, enjoying the cool air, the unexplainable flickering of fireflies floating on the breeze, the choruses of the whippoorwills and of bullfrogs and of crickets.

Perhaps you realize that porch-sitting has been a favorite pastime throughout human history. One of the first recorded instances is in the book of Genesis. Old Testament patriarch Abraham lived in a tent, so, I suppose his wasn’t a porch in the contemporary sense of the word. But it was Abraham’s practice to sit in the entrance of his tent in the shade of oak trees.

Long before air conditioning, Abraham found some relief from the heat on his tent “porch” where he loved to entertain passersby. One day as he sat there, he had three visitors.

“When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed to the ground. Then he said, ‘My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, please do not go on past your servant. Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves’” (Genesis 18:2-5).

How’s that for hospitality? Abraham invited the visitors to rest a spell and gave them food. It turned out these weren’t ordinary visitors. They were heavenly beings.

“We should not be forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).

In many parts of America, front porches are no longer considered important. In fact, many new homes being built these days don’t even have porches. In my opinion, we’ve given up a place our ancestors considered crucial. It was a gathering spot, complete with rocking chairs and swings and lots of chatter mixed with laughter.

It was on a front porch that I would sit and listen to my Uncle Delpheus Ore talk. He would smoothly and effortlessly weave biblical principles into the conversation. Talking about Jesus was as natural to Delpheus as talking about family and friends. I learned what a Christian looked like on that porch, looking at Delpheus. He was a manly man – strong and masculine, nothing like the sissies Hollywood portrays Christians to be.

Delpheus left a lasting impression on me with his robust brand of Christianity, which was on full display on that porch.

We all need a place where we can show hospitality, where we can put our Christianity on display, hopefully in ways that will cause others to want to know Christ.

And while we’re doing that, we might just see some strange and entertaining things, like a truckload of grass on its way to be mowed?

(Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.)

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