To be honest as I began growing tomatoes I would have been happy if I had ended up with one tomato at the end of the process but I realised that the point of growing a tomato plant was fruit and that this is what the Father is after in our lives; That we would be very fruitful.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23, The Message, But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
I planted the seeds and waited to see some green shoots. Planting the seeds really built my faith; I had no doubt that the seeds would produce plants. Also I was relieved in the knowledge that I could not make the seed grow only God could and God would. It reminded me of Mark 4:26-27, The Message, Then Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps harvest time!
The plants needed the right conditions in order to germinate and then grow. I had to thin the plants out to make sure each one had enough room to grow. I had to water them or they would have died. I had to position them in a sunny place in the garden. This reinforced the need for spiritual maintenance both for myself and for those around me. If we are going to grow we need to be in a church that can nurture us and build us up, we need to read our bibles and we need to spend time in God’s presence letting him shine into our lives, love us and direct us and as leaders we need to invest time doing this for the people God has entrusted to us and teach them to maintain their walks in the same way.
I also had to prune the plants, pruning was important in the growing process because it kept the plant healthy and made it produce the maximum amount of fruit possible. All of my plants didn’t bear fruit, my fault not natures, so I cut down the fruitless ones and continued to care for the ones that had fruit on them. This made me think of John 15 1-2, The Message, “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. I had always thought it was quite a harsh thing to say that if you are not bearing fruit you are going to get the chop but from a farmers point of view it makes perfect sense. If the plant isn’t bearing fruit it isn’t functioning, it’s using up water and nutrients that could boost the crop of the functioning plants and therefore needs to be removed.
Finally, I didn’t harvest as many tomatoes as an experienced gardener would have but I learnt so much and I’m looking forward to a bigger harvest next year!