Aug 2, 2018

Tumultuous Tomato

I love all types of tomatoes; especially ones that are vine-ripened.  And this is the time of the year when they can be picked and eaten right off the vine.

But, since I live in Minnesota and I don’t have a greenhouse, all winter I settle for eating pink tomatoes that were harvested and shipped before they could come to full maturity.

As I eat them, I dream of summer when I can go into my garden and pick one at the fullest possible time of maturity; ripened to perfection!

This year is no exception…

Day after day I have been watching for the first red tomato of the season, eagerly and patiently anticipating the day when it would be introduced to my taste buds.

I should also add that this year I removed our six-foot high barrier fence because it blocked the sun from fully reaching our garden…
And I built a new much shorter picket fence in its place so that neighbors would have an easier time picking our abundant raspberries - that we can’t possibly use all for ourselves. Year after year we get so many that even with freezing we still don’t have enough room to store them.

This year was no exception and because we would be on the road for much of July, we decided to invite all of our neighbors to partake so that none of the raspberries would be wasted. The same went for any of the other fruits and vegetables that were in our garden.

One of the days that we were home (in between our many road trips), I noticed that one of the tomatoes was starting to ripen. I was hoping that it would come to maturity the next time that we were home.

The next time I came home from our travels, I heard from many neighbors and friends who thanked us for the raspberries; confessing they had come multiple times and each time hauled away a “boat load”.

I also noticed that the tomato was almost perfect. I would give it a few more days so that it would be perfectly ripe. My mouth waited in eagerness for this day of bliss that was coming!
The next morning, I noticed that the tomato was missing. My immediate thought was; “Who would take my tomato without asking me?” (now that I was home). I used my placid facade to conceal the tumult of my mind.

Just as quickly as the tumultuous emotions tried to come up, they were replaced by thoughts of my own stinginess. After all, I had invited neighbors to take whatever they wanted; I should be glad that I had something to give.

Believe it or not, over the next two days whenever I went into the garden to pick raspberries, I would look at the tomato plant and wonder who took it?

And, just as quickly as the tumultuous emotions tried to come up, they were quickly replaced by words of scripture:

“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19b) 

“Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23) 

 Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9)

“…but the godly are generous givers.” (Psalm 37:21b)

Today when I went into the garden to pick raspberries and I looked at the tomato plant, my eye saw something red. No, not me but a tomato. But it wasn’t in the garden. It was laying beneath a tree and about one forth of it was eaten…

A squirrel had taken it; not a person; I had been wrong...I realized that it was a good thing that I hadn’t allowed my mind to “take someone to court” over a tomato.

I almost took an offense and got mad at “someone” over a missing piece of fruit! Thank God for His grace!

 “Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” (Proverbs 13:3)

Reflecting, I find it amazing how stingy I (we) can be over something like that. Who cares if it had been a person and not a squirrel who took it; that is what it was there for!

It also shows just how much I (we) don’t trust God for His provision. The Apostle Paul wrote;

 “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” (2 Cor 9:8-9)

May God change our hearts and open our hands of anything that we would hold back from one who needs something.

All Scripture if from New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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