What a Broken Mower Taught me about Faith

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  October 19, 2013

            My lawnmower would not start. No matter how hard I tried, it would not start. Sometimes it would chug a bit, but then stall out and never cut a single blade of grass. When the yard is blessed with the gift of rain and all one has is a broken mower, there will be problems.
            It was late enough in the season that I had hoped I could get away with not having to pay a repair bill, or an even bigger bill to replace it. So I tried and tried to start the silly thing, but it would never work. The grass was getting tall, the weeds were looking even worse, and it was clear that I had to do something. Unfortunately, repeated attempts at starting the fool thing were still unsuccessful.
            My wife suggested that I change the air filter. Sometimes a man’s arrogant nature overrides his good judgment so I just knew that my lovely bride could not possibly know more about that mower than I did. Yet, considering the fact that I did not even know where the air filter was located on the mower, I should have given my wife a lot more credit than I did.
            The other morning, she got tired of my repeated attempts to start the thing—and the subsequent failures—so she took the air filter out and it started right up. After showing me where the filter went (and presenting me with the seriously dirty and oil-encrusted filter) I purchased a new one and … Well, wouldn’t you know. That silly old mower started right up and did a wonderful job of mowing my entire yard and those annoying weeds that were trying to take over.
            Of course, the simple lesson here is obvious. I should have listened to my wife the first time. Of that simple fact, I am all too well aware. There is, however, another lesson to be learned from my humbling mower incident.
            We all go through life with various filters. These filters are the means by which we engage the pollution that everyday life throws at us without letting their toxins get into our spirits and destroy our faith. When corrupted with enough filth, however, these filters not only screen out the damaging things, they cut off our ability to really live.
            What is in your filter? Is it clean? Refreshed by the power of the Holy Spirit? Rinsed with the power of prayer and purified by the study of Scripture? Does your dirty filter get regularly changed out with the refreshing breath of God and the uplifting rejuvenation of worshipping God with a trusted community of faith?
            Tragically, many of us are lumbering through life—even life in the church—with dirty filters. Our faith filters can easily become clogged with unforgiveness, hatred, and bitterness. Much like the oil of an engine that keeps things running smooth, when the doctrines and practices that lubricate a healthy faith become dirty and lodged in the filters of faith, even the work of the church can feel stifling and eventually cut us off from the power we have to thrive.
            The filters of faith are essential to healthy living and a life rich in God’s anointing power. In the midst of living our lives, when faith comes up short, when God seems absent, when church appears meaningless, when life becomes filled with bitterness and fear, perhaps it is time for a filter change. Perhaps it is not that God is absent at all. Rather, our filters are clogged with garbage and God simply cannot get through.
            Perhaps it is time for a filter change. Reacquaint yourself with scripture, the richness of the church, and the blessings of prayer in a whole new way. By seeking a fresh understanding of God’s sacred purpose for your life, perhaps we will find that the old filters that once served us well simply needed to be cleaned out or replaced! The result is that we can really breathe again.