No one has likely ever referred to you as being grass, and it’s equally unlikely that you would receive it well if it did in fact happen. We are not to be compared to something lacking the natural God given dynamic attributes of humanity. We mow grass. We are not defined by grass.
Then again God has a peculiar way of bringing imagery and metaphor and simile into the scriptures so to illuminate our understanding as well as douse us with a heavy portion of perspective. Saint Peter, the apostle, connects our humanity with our accomplishments, our “Grass and our Glory” (1 Peter 1:24-25). We are grass and our glory is like the flowers of the field.
It paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it? Are you picturing a beautiful field of lush green grass with yellow flowers poking up seemingly out of nowhere? And of course, the sky in your imagination is bluer than blue, at least if our minds are visiting the same field.
It isn’t the celebration of our humanity or the glory of our accomplishments which draw the focus of these verses. It’s not the buildings we build or the books we write or the relationships we’ve cultivated. It isn’t the inventions we’ve dreamed or the songs we’ve written which attract the praise in this instance. In fact, the only praise presented is in opposition of what we would define as success.
Our humanity is like grass, our glory is like the flowers of the field, and then comes the kicker…
Grass withers and flowers fall.
It screams of fragility and finality. In no place does it call into account our desired legacy or imprint on humanity. These are glories we would chase and some rather fervently. I am as guilty as all. I have a recurring thought, a haunting vision, a self-glorifying desire to be remembered. I marvel at the A.W. Tozer’s and the C.S. Lewis’ and the Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s who, not desiring sustained glory but sustaining faith, are continuing to be remembered.
I have come to realize that it is God in his grace who would choose to exalt a person to this measure. It is the individual who offered themselves to the service of our Lord, they who were “poured out like a drink offering” on sacrifice and service who has positioned themselves to receive, however it is God who gives.
In The Signature of Jesus, Manning notes that “The Holy Spirit is the bearer of gifts and these gifts are sometimes lavished in peculiar places. God bestows his grace abundantly but unevenly. He offers no explanation why some are called to radical discipleship and others are not.”
We may not understand why God chooses to exalt some and allow others to simply rejoice in His favor and invitation to mercy. We may desire for Kingdom impact and a legacy which would follow us when we depart into the “sunset limited’. The reality is that “only the Word of the Lord endures forever”.
Something tells me when we are standing in the presence of our King we will pay little mind to our past “glory” as it has likely begun it’s travel towards withering and falling. We will become solely reflective and entranced with the heart piercing question…
What did I do that was worth Christ dying for?