My husband and I have a raised bed vegetable garden we hope will add some fresh, healthful, organically grown food to our table this summer. Lots of sunshine, daily inspections for pests, and regular doses of collected rainwater have the plants growing well and filling out nicely. I am definitely no photographer (which explains my exclusive use of stock photography on this blog!), but here is a picture of our garden.
See – cucumber vines are climbing up the chain link fence at the back, and the main bed is filled with zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, basil, and two beautiful tomato plants. Fellow tomato fans around the world will agree there is no substitute for tomatoes right off the vine!
I was feeling particularly happy about those two little tomato plants, so carefully placed in the well-tended garden, when my husband asked me if I had noticed the “other tomato plant”. Huh? What “other tomato plant”? I had bought and planted only the two.
On the side of our house (where I apparently only go with my eyes shut) we temporarily have the cap off the pipe that carries out water from the kitchen sink while we address a plumbing issue. Some tomato seeds must have found their way down the drain and into the soil outside. To my very great surprise, a massive, sprawling tomato plant had grown there, dwarfing my nursery darlings many times over. It currently displays 18 tomatoes – some quite large – on its spreading branches. What??
Isn’t it ironic that a cast-off bit of refuse that got tossed in the disposal has outgrown the carefully tended plants I hover over daily? Watered by the problems of life (our broken plumbing), it has bloomed where it landed and become quietly fruitful.
Can you relate to the Accidental Tomato?
Sometimes we feel like we have come through the disposal of life and have been spit out into our situations – not at all as though we have been carefully planted there by a loving Master Gardener.
The fairy tale didn’t quite come true, and what we got instead can feel more like a bad dream than a recipe for fulfillment and fruitfulness, much less a happily ever after.
If we aren’t careful, the fruit of our lives can become small, hard things like bitterness, envy, or anger, poisoning not only our own souls but also the lives of those around us.
Unlike a tomato plant, we have something to say about the fruit that we produce. With God’s help, we can recognize a bad crop and turn it into next season’s abundant harvest.
We can decide to accept that we are where we are as a result of our own choices, the choices of others, and the hand of a sovereign, loving Gardener who truly knows what is best for our ultimate fruitfulness. We can accept that we don’t have to stay stuck but can embrace healthy growth and change.
We choose whether we grow the bitter fruit of disappointment or the sweet fruit of submission. The first kind leads to doubt, negativity, and depression. The second kind leads to trust, hope, and joy.
Where did life spit you out? Where are you right now, and what kind of fruit are you bearing?
There is the rich soil of God’s Word as a foundation for your life. There is the rain of trials to cause you to grow in character and godliness. There is the light of His love shining warmly over your life. There is the wind of His Spirit, strengthening you and teaching you. All this is present for you right now, right where you are.
There is fruit to be had for God’s kingdom that will impact your eternity in wonderful ways beyond imagining.
The Master Gardener tends accidental tomatoes too, which means that really, there ARE no accidental tomatoes.
Funny, but that one is my favorite of the three tomato plants now because it reminds me that I too can be fruitful right where I am. My life is no accident, and neither is yours, my friend.
Let’s do what we can to ensure our lives are producing the kind of fruit that will entice others to “taste and see that the Lord is good”.
My Choices Can Increase My Fruitfulness
Here are some things I feel led to choose today:
- I choose joy in the midst of trials, knowing that God uses them to make me more like Jesus.
- I choose trust in the midst of pain, knowing that God is at work in my life and will use my pain for future gain.
- I choose peace in the midst of turmoil, knowing that God is God over the storm around me.
- I choose hope because, in Christ, all things are possible to them that believe, and I am not “stuck” where I am forever.
- I choose to allow the fruit of the Spirit to grow in my life, causing me to be pleasing to God and a blessing to others.
Dear friend, today I am praying that your life will produce beautiful, healthy fruit and that you will be filled with joy in the process. The Master Gardener IS at work – may He give us eyes to see the design of His work where before we may have only noticed dirt and mess.
With faith, hope, and love,