Even before I was a Christian, the following quote has been a constant reminder throughout the years of the value of contentment as well as the importance of putting forth good effort in relationships. Whether you are a newlywed and very excited about celebrating life together or trudging through this prison we call Earth attached to your ball-and-chain — this article is for you. Even if you are not married, this is an important lesson that can help mend relationships with those around you.
You may think that the grass is greener on the other side, but if you take the time to water your own grass it can be just as green…[if not greener].Anonymous [emphasis mine]
Contentment in marriage
From a marriage standpoint, this is very applicable for several reasons. First it means that we are to be content with the spouse that we have, and not wish for something we don’t have.
Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, And be embraced in the arms of a seductress? [Proverbs 5:15-20 NKJV]
We are to be content with the husband or wife we have. Upon getting married the couple pledges their lives to each other through thick and thin, better or worse, rich or poor, in sickness and in health. Not only that, but make this covenant with God as well.
And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." [Matthew 19:4-6 NKJV]
Since this is a covenant before the Creator, we should give it utmost care, before and after we make such commitment. Since we are made as “one flesh,” we think as one, live as one, and to be unified as much as possible in thought, word and deed. I find it ironic that some never get past this; those who have separate bank accounts, tax filings, or even take separate vacations.
The Bible says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain”(1 Timothy 6:6). Contentment and godliness go hand-in-hand; for if you strive to live a godly life you will be content. Our true home is in heaven, and what we acquire here on earth will belong to someone else down the road and eventually burned up or destroyed. Christians are children of God, and our needs are already met in Jesus. But find a person constantly saying, “I need ___.” Or, “I want___.” You will have uncovered a discontent soul.
We should be content with the things we have and not covet the things we don’t (Hebrews 13:5). Do you ever wonder why coveting is one of the Ten Commandments? Well, because before you ever sin physically, it is the sin of desiring something you don’t have. That something can be physical like a car or a beautiful attractive blond. It can even be desiring something like prestige, fame, that people would look up to us, or get that promotion we think we deserve. But whatever it is, you are not thankful for what God gave you and it is not good enough.
Contentment in relationships
This saying can be applied in many other ways other than marriage. The things people think they need even gets brought into the church, and therefore they tend to give up before they even start.
Those who have left the church I attend over the years is a perfect example. I would imagine that the number one reason they left is that they feel we are too “clique-ish” and have our own “holy huddles” and don’t invite others in. My question to them is, “How much did you pour into others?” Some have told me the following and my response…
“No one invites me over for dinner?” Have you invited anyone over for dinner?
“No one talks to me after church?” Do you talk to people after church or do you wait in a corner for people to come to you?
“No one prays for me.” Have you sent out prayer requests, joined the prayer team on Tuesday nights, or get involved in a small group study?
“No one calls me to see how I’m doing.” Do you call others to see how they are doing?
Years ago when I was a new Christian I was complaining to the Pastor’s wife about the church. She stopped what she was doing, turned to me and said, “Be the change you want to see in others. Step out in faith and do it regardless of the outcome, and God will meet you where you’re at.” That’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
Putting forth good effort
Which brings me to my final conclusion — how are you pouring into others? Grass is a weird plant and very fickle. It’s almost impossible to plant one blade of grass and have it survive on its own in a natural environment; you have to plant a lot of grass, even on top of good grass, which is called, “over-seeding.” The more grass you have in an area, the more difficult it is for weeds to grow.
Just like over-seeding, we need each other and cannot grow all on our own. We need each other to help push out the weeds in our lives, to stand strong and hold in moisture so that we can grow strong and provide a lush, green lawn. When people leave our fellowships because they think the grass is greener somewhere else, it is very difficult to thrive on their own. In my opinion, it would be easier to help fix the problems where you are at with the people you are used to instead of trying to find a perfect fellowship. Chances are you won’t find it.
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. [Proverbs 18:24 NKJV]
Jesus had many followers, but even He had his own special unique group — the twelve He hand selected Himself. That didn’t mean He forbade others from entering like Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, or others. But all of us need those close relationships and people we can confide in and share our weaknesses with.
Some ways to water your marriage
- Dwell with your spouse with understanding and love them unconditionally (1 Peter 3:1-7). Get to know them, what they like, and their love language. Take the Myers-Briggs Personality assessment together.
- Don’t create lists of what your spouse does or doesn’t do.
- Eat meals together without distraction like TV or cellphones. Have a conversation.
- Read and study the Bible together. Pray together.
- Have regular date nights.
- Go to a marriage seminar and make it part of a vacation together.
Some ways to water your family or friends
- Visit them, call them, and spend quality undistracted time with them.
- Invite them to dinner, an outing, or to come along with something you have to do.
- Look for needs and see where you can help.
- If you go to dinner or out for coffee, pick a place where you can talk and it’s not noisy.
- Have a fire and invite friends of yours that don’t know each other. Can be fun.
Some ways to water your church or fellowship
- Take a few friends and go share your faith or do ministry together.
- Talk to at least two different people you are not used to talking to after church.
- Invite people over for dinner that you would not normally hang out with.
- Invite someone you know well, someone you don’t know as well, and someone completely new.
- After dinner, sit around a backyard fire or kitchen table and get to know each other. Ask people to share their testimony and see how God saved them.
- Take a spiritual gift assessment together and see where your gifts are and how you can use them together. Find out the abilities, talents, and hobbies of those around you.
- Invite someone new to lunch after church. If you can’t afford to pay for everyone, let people know it’s “Dutch.” Pick somewhere you can talk and have conversation.
We are wired to constantly look at what is missing in our lives instead of (1) being thankful for what we do have, and (2) figuring out how to make that work. Focus on your own grass, water it, fertilize it, and make it grow.
- How are you pouring into your spouse, your kids and your family?
- How are you pouring into your friends or the people in your fellowship?
When the excitement that you once felt, fades and you want to move onto the next thing, ask yourself:
- “What can I do to help the situation with the current thing that I am in?”
- “Am I pouring into this person or thing that I am wanting to leave? Am I even trying?”
Let us know below in the comments how you pour into others. Thrive…my friends!!!