I’m not much of a gardener. If there was an opposite to green fingers, maybe brown thumbs, I have them. Pot plants come into my house at their own peril and they can count themselves lucky if they last three months.
A tomato plant grew itself in an old tin bath that had been used by the previous owners of the house as a sort of compost area. I was so excited to see tomatoes grow and ripen. Unfortunately the plant died before all the green tomatoes could ripen and we cut it off at the ground. Lo and behold , it sprouted again. Before we went to the South Coast last month, it had four green tomatoes. Inspired by this miracle of nature, I started putting suspect tomatoes in the bath and watched little seedlings sprout after a while.
Now I see my inspirational tomato plant is dying and it doesn’t look like we will ever get to eat the four tomatoes. The leaves have all withered and turned yellow or brown.
I googled it. Seems like my plant might be suffering from a fungal disease. I found some bright blue fungicide and sprayed not only the dying plant, which I don’t think I can save, but also the newer ones. Here’s hoping I might yet see some fruit.
Psalm 1 refers to a person whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.” (Psalm 1:3 NIV)
Sin is like a fungus which is easily spread and in the end is deadly. I would much rather live a fruitful life than a life characterised by withering leaves. According to Psalm 1, the secret is to delight in God’s Word, to meditate on it day and night. That is the fungicide.
Fortunately, God is a much better gardener than I am and I can trust Him to take any action He deems necessary to ensure that I live a fruitful life. However, I am neither a tomato plant nor a tree and the Father respects my God-given free will. I would need to submit to His care and love if I want to live the life described in Psalm 1.
Father God, you know I can’t live the kind of life you ordained for me on my own. Please forgive me for my inherent sin and human tendencies. Please continue to be involved in my life and take charge. Create in me a love for Your Word. May I delight in it and meditate on it constantly. Thank You. Amen.
A tomato plant grew itself in a bath of soil I used to use for some strawberries that never thrived. When I found the branches drooping, I saved two nearly ripe tomatoes that were lying in the mud and looped up the others. I knew that the two on the ground would be eaten by insects. I didn’t know whether tomatoes ripen if you pick them too early, but I was willing to try. My husband, always trying to be helpful, thought I knew something he didn’t know about tomatoes and picked all of them so we had a whole row of tomatoes on our kitchen window sill. Maybe it was just as well. The plant wilted and died within a week. The gardener cut it down to just a stump and one twig has sprouted.
Some tomatoes did ripen. Some went rotten and got composted but two remained stubbornly pale green. A week ago I was making toasted cheese sandwiches and I thought they would go really nicely with a thin slice of tomato. I cut a thin slice of one of the green tomatoes and tasted it. It tasted all right so I used that one up.
Today I was inspired to cook a special breakfast to compensate for not being able to go out for a bacon and egg breakfast with my husband. I got carried away and added fried banana and fried onions to the bacon and egg. Then I thought about fried tomato and wondered whether the last green tomato would do the job. When I opened it, this is what I saw.
Although the tomato had never ripened, the seeds presumably had and were starting to grow. One sprout popped up like a jack-in-the-box. I don’t know what would have happened if I had just left the tomato. Anyway, I planted it, just as it is in the old bath with the one remaining twig of the parent plant.
This is a parable of lockdown for me. Who knows what seeds God is growing in us, unseen and unknown in a confined space. Our church has been meditating on the Fruit of the Spirit during this lockdown period. Let’s hope that when we are finally released from our bubble, plants of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control will spring out ready to help heal the world. (Gal5:25)