"Before"
Our house on James Island has a bayview window in the eating area of the kitchen and a window in the living room.  Each of these provide a nice view into the backyard.  However, one would never know this due to the condition of the azalea bushes in the flower behind just outside.  When my workday moved to the backside of the house, I encountered this monstrosity of overgrown azaleas that had become intertwined with vines growing under, around, and over them.

Although the lease agreement included the tenants' maintaining the yard as well as the inside of the house, it became obvious that besides a bi-annual lawn mowing, nothing else had been done to the yard.  I guess this is to be expected.  Who wants to put sweat equity into something that isn't there's?  It would be kind of like washing a rental car; it's just something you don't do.

When we lived here; while we weren't "yard freaks" by any stretch of the imagination, we did maintain a nice-looking and appealing landscape.  St. Augustine grass covered the ground like a thick carpet and we kept it mowed and the walkway edged.  A flowerbed welcomed guests as they came to either the front or side door.  With tenants it's just not the same.  Owners mow their lawns every week during the season, while tenants might mow the lawn once a season.  Owners trim the hedges, while tenants don't seem to even notice them.

"After"
As I was working through the mass of limbs and leaves that stood like a mountain on the backside of our house, the Lord began to teach me the nest lesson, and this one may have been the most powerful one I heard on this day.  As I lopped off limbs and piled them to the side, I heard the Holy Spirit speaking inside of me, "The people living here do not care as much for this property as you do, do they?"  "Nope" was my simple and to-the-point reply.  Truth is, I wasn't in much of a mood for talking by this point.  It was mid-afternoon, hot and steamy, and since I didn't want to lose any time going somewhere for lunch I had packed a PB&J sandwich that was wearing thin.

What I heard next stopped me in my tracks: "It's the same between you and Me.  I'm much more concerned about your life that you are.  I bought you."

The owner is more concerned about His property than the tenant ever will be.

We have a tendency to think that we know more about what's better for us than God does and that if fully commit to following Him that He will somehow short-change us and we will regret it.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I've often said that if God would pull back the curtain of time and show each of us what the end-result of our lives would look like if we committed to His ways and His will that every one of us would take Him up on His offer.  Of course, this would require no faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.

This promise still rings true: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own undestanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The Lord made a HUGE investment in order to purchase us.  "For he rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom (with his blood) and forgave our sins." (Colossians 1:13-14 NLT).  If we are concerned about the biggest investment most of us will ever make, that being the purchase of a house, that we buy with mere money; how much more is God dialed-in to us since He paid for us with the life of His own Son?

The temptation to go my own way, and not fully trust God with the steps of my life, should be about as strong as the temptation to eat dirt... virtually non-existent!