A Bowl of Tomatoes or The Circle of Life?
I have had the honor of watching my son bring to fruition his very first vegetable garden.
The garden began as 2x4’s laid out on my back deck. My son lovingly nailed them together to form a planter. He filled the planter with soil and fertilizer in preparation of the life to come.
As I watched my son work, I began to think of the toil that our Father went through to prepare us. The foundation that He built so that we too could grow in stature.
I would watch my son as he laid down (5) plants perfectly placed to provide for the best exposure. And then I would watch (and help) as he lovingly fertilized and watered his tomato plants for the remainder of their journey.
Over the course of the life of these tomatoes, they would experience growth, drought, over-crowding, weeding, and some would die. But throughout their life, the farmer lovingly tended and gave them what was needed for their survival and success.
If you know me, I love analogies and this blog was born on the day the first board was laid.
Through the life of this project I found 5 truths to be evident:
Life is a journey.
I believe that life goes in circles. I do not believe that anything happens by accident and in fact that every action happens over and over in creation. Life is created, life grows, life regenerates, life ends. A journey and I believe a pattern that is the same in most everything within creation. Linear in nature but quite volatile in that the line can change direction based on environment both internal and external to the life within.
An interesting concept, almost geometric in design.
Life is created.
Yes, I believe that life was created. The Psalmist said, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” In this verse in Psalm 139, the Psalmist, who's name is David, is speaking to The Lord and is forming a song thanking Him for the creation He has placed within him. It is a beautiful song and the truth of David’s words do not go unnoticed. The Lord God created us, He created the earth- the trees, the flowers, the skies, the grass, the birds, the bees and yes, my son’s tomatoes. While my son planted them, the original tomato ever created was in the garden.
Can you imagine how juicy it was?
Most life requires nourishment and in The Creator's perfect design we find that He has built the foundation needed for the life that seeks to be nourished. An oak tree drops an acorn to the ground, the rain falls and a seed is planted. Worms in the ground underneath unpack the earth to allow for the roots to grow. Another oak tree is born. My son’s tomatoes required fertilizing and watering. In fact, when we fertilized we noticed that the tomatoes actually grew larger than the year before when we didn’t fertilize. And if we didn’t water the plants, they would experience drought and wilting.
Just as the great oak and my son’s tomatoes required
nourishment, we too need to be fertilized and watered. John 7:38 tells us that, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture as said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” And just like my son’s plants, we too will wilt if we do not find water.
Isaiah 55 gives an invitation to the thirsty, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!” In verse 6, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” The Lord gives us all an invitation to come to Him, as only He can sustain us and in verses 10-12, He tells us that His word will not return void, but will accomplish what he desires. And the result? “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst in to song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Through love and grace, through His Word, the Father molds us. He shapes us as He reveals the heart of a Creator for His Creation and the result of His love (His nourishment) is a life well lived as we grow in stature under His care.
Have you ever listened to the quiet rustle of the trees and wondered if they were clapping their hands? Perhaps they know the secret that is so hard for us to realize, that our Creator is hands on as He molds us and draws us to Him?
This is the fun part. My son’s tomatoes actually have life within them. If I cut open a tomato there are seeds inside. So I can actually take the tomato, place it in the ground and just like the acorn that falls from the oak tree, the tomato will regenerate itself into a new plant of tomatoes.
Genius, isn’t it? Self-sustaining life. The Creator doesn’t have to keep “creating” something new, because it regenerates in the life within. Man and woman create a new life through the child they bear, plants regenerate new plants through the seed they generate, and the circle of life continues. In our spiritual life, we have the opportunity of regeneration, it’s called “discipleship.” Jesus modeled discipleship for us. He called 12 men to follow Him, He taught them, He loved them and He sent them out to do the same. Jesus instructed His disciples in Matthew 28:19 to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is an active instruction meaning "to teach or to train" which has continued for 2000+ years, even today we share in this gift of The Creator. We have a unique opportunity in the church to pour into others through discipleship and mentoring so they too can grow in the Faith. We can leave a legacy of faith as we pour into others.
Is your life regenerating into others?
Every journey has an end. The tomatoes will reach the end of their yield as the season changes. We too reach the end of our yield as our season (life) ends. But while we may see this as an end, I believe that The Creator sees this as a beginning. In our journey, we have experienced creation at the Father’s Hand who knew us intimately in our mother’s womb. We have experienced growth as The Creator lovingly molds us pouring into us the love and grace which are freely ours. We have experienced regeneration as we have the beautiful opportunity to share this love and grace with others through discipleship and mentoring.
But is this truly the end? Or are we being prepared for something greater?
In Matthew 25, Jesus shares the parable of the Bags of Gold. A man entrusts his three servants with a portion of his wealth. Two invest and build more, the third digs a hole and buries the wealth. When the master returns to settle his accounts, he rewards the first two servants as he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!” The third admitting to being afraid through his inaction, the master reprimands and sends away calling him a wicked lazy servant.
At the end of our life, we will all be held accountable for the way we have lived our life, but notice how the master rewarded both of the first two, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful and I will reward you with more, come and share your master’s happiness!” While we see the end of our life here on earth as the end, I believe that The Creator, our Father sees this as our beginning. In Revelation 21, John of Patmos in sharing his vision of the end of days shares of a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be WITH THEM and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
The bowl of tomatoes yielded in my son's harvest is so beautiful, providing lovely red and juicy tomatoes. What a blessing to have watched this beautiful transformation and to have been able to share in his happiness from a job well done.
What a gift, to live our life loved and tended by the Father as we too are transformed! Just as these tomatoes are lovely, He transforms us into the lovely spirit He has created us to be and we have the blessed opportunity to live WITH our Father and share in our master’s happiness!
God is so good!!!
So with this, I have a question. What does your growth look like? Will you withstand the drought? Will you find the nourishment in our Father? Will your life regenerate into others? I pray it is so, I pray that we will one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when we stand before our Creator and share in His happiness.
Father, thank You for the circle of life which is all around us. Thank you that nothing is by accident, that your perfect design is evident in the creation You have blessed us. We thank You that in our own life, we can see the evidence of this circle as You mold us and shape us into that which You have called us to be. Father, we ask that You will open our hearts to yours and allow us to see Your Creation and Your design as our opportunity to walk with You so one day we too will dwell with you and share in Your happiness.
We Love you,