Summary: Solving Problems God’s Way Part 3: Digging Deeper Into Root Causes

Solving Problems God’s Way

Part 3: Digging Deeper Into Root Causes

Matthew 5:21-28


Mr. Smith has a very serious problem. I want you to think along with me this morning and help me help Mr. Smith find his root problem.



Brown Spots In The Lawn

* Of course the brown spots are not Mr. Smiths root problem.

* Here is what we know about Mr. Smith… some of these are symptoms and some are possible causes. Let’s see if we can determine the root cause.

* Here are the facts we have on Mr. Smith and his lawn.


1. Mr. Smith does not have a dog.

2. Mr. Smith lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

3. Mr. Smith sometimes hires his lawn mowed.

4. Mr. Smith usually mows his lawn with a riding mower.

5. It hasn’t rained much this past summer.

6. Moles eat grubs.

7. Mr. Smith has brown spots in his lawn.

8. Mr. Smith has moles in his lawn.

9. Mr. Smith fertilizes his lawn regularly.

10. Mr. Smith’s neighbor doesn’t have moles in his lawn.

11. Mr. Smith’s push mower cuts very close to the ground.

12. Mr. Smith weighs 285 lbs.

13. The summer has been a hot one.

14. Mr. Smith usually wins “Yard of the Month.”

15. Mr. Smith is married with 3 children.

16. Mr. Smith’s riding mower is a John Deere.

17. Mr. Smith’s children spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer time.

* You have 60 seconds to choose which one of these is the root problem.

* Discussion of possible root causes…

What is troubling Mr. Smith are the brown spots in his lawn. This is the visible evidence that he has a problem. He enjoys the attention and the pride that goes along with winning “Yard of the Month.” He has been the winner for three consecutive years and now all of the sudden these atrocious brown spots are diminishing the possibility of him winning again this year.

Let’s go ahead and eliminate one of the possible root problems – brown spots. Brown spots are not the ROOT problem! They are the visible evidence of a deeper problem. Brown spots are what we want to call the ‘surface problem’. They are simply a symptom of the real problem. To treat this symptom would be a silly mistake. Can you imagine Mr. Smith going to the local hardware store and purchasing a can of green spray paint to cover up his brown spots in his lawn? Wouldn’t that be ridiculous? Of course. He could give the appearance of a vibrant and healthy lawn with an inexpensive can of spray paint but you and I know that it is nothing more than a cover up.

Mr. Smith doesn’t have a dog. So there is no dog digging up the grass or creating a dirt path by it’s continued presence on the lawn. But perhaps getting a dog would help better fertilize his dilapidated lawn! We know Mr. Smith fertilizes his lawn regularly, so he really doesn’t need a dog to help supply the missing nutrients to the soil. There is no indication Mr. Smith has over fertilized his lawn. He has won “Yard of the Month” for three consecutive years, which suggests he has mastered the art of measuring the fertilizer correctly.

Living in St. Louis doesn’t seem to be a problem. Perhaps if he lived in Michigan or Alaska we could identify his root problem as his environment. It is conceivable that the cooler weather could result in brown spots in the lawn. This is not the case for Mr. Smith.

Maybe his brown spots could be blamed on someone else! Occasionally he hires his lawn mowed. Could the hired laborer’s mower have an un-level deck, causing an uneven cut, resulting in brown spots? Now you know Mr. Smith would never hire anything less than a professional to manicure his lawn! Let’s don’t blame this on someone else.

Rain has been in short supply this summer and it’s been a hot one. But Mr. Smith would not allow the lack of rain to ruin his chances of winning again this year! He would gladly fork out a few extra dollars to his local waterworks provider to ensure his lawn gets the necessary moisture to be green and lively.

Mr. Smith has picked up a few pounds this year. His wife is an excellent cook! Watching the fats and carbohydrates has not been high on his priority list. Could it be that the extra weight on the riding mower is causing the brown spots. Well, Mr. Smith believes in purchasing possibly the finest in lawn tractors. He owns a John Deer. He did not spare any expense when it came to choosing a manicure machine for his lawn. He bought one with extra wide tires to reduce the impact that an overweight person, like himself, might have on his lawn.

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