Women's Ministry


October 2022

Tomatoes & Sunshine

Though the weather hasn’t quite caught up here where we live, it is indeed spring. Every spring I get excited once again with the thought of planting, usually tomatoes and herbs, carrots & spring onions, etc. Growing up on a farm, we used to have an absolutely huge garden full of veggies that my mom would blanch and freeze for the winter, and use fresh that summer. Few tastes on earth can top a fresh home-grown tomato! So when spring fever hits each year, I am found either planting seeds or cheating by doing a Bunnings run for seedlings, especially tomatoes. And every year, I am disappointed—the soil we have is rubble basically so we use raised garden beds. Unfortunately, we have little space in the yard where enough sunshine gets through to nurture our plants despite raised garden beds, compost, and soil additions. However, it is spring again and I am about to try once more. I was in the yard the other day and suddenly came across the healthiest looking tomato plant seen in my care for decades! This was exciting, but it was growing out of a crack in the compost bin.  From the moist blackness of the compost bin, it had found the sunlight. If I were to be able to readily harvest large lush ripe tomatoes, this was not where it could remain I told myself. So immediately I extricated it from its precarious position by cutting it off. It now adorns my kitchen sink in a glass of fortified water to encourage root growth so I can replant it in a more convenient spot. Whether this will actually give me the end product I envision, the taste of those luscious red tomatoes I hope for, remains to be seen.

This morning I got to thinking about my tomato cutting in the light of God being the Master Gardener of our spiritual growth. And as I rolled that around in my head, it occurred to me that God never takes a ‘cutting’ as it were from us for his own convenience, to make it easier for him to nurture the fruit as it grows. His pruning is always about our growth, not his convenience. When we find ourselves in those dark tough situations and we reach for the Son, he doesn’t respond by immediately cutting us out of the tough spot, but by nurturing us where we are. Our difficulties don’t stop Him encouraging our growth as long as we are reaching toward the Son. And his fortified water—the Holy Spirit—will never evaporate but is always available to feed and enliven us. Our spiritual development and growth is in the hands of the Gardener; and unlike my cutting on the kitchen sink, there is no concern that we will be uprooted and moved to somewhere more convenient for him. There is no concern that his pruning may not have the intended results, unlike mine. We have been safely planted in Him, and like my wayward tomato seed, we need only reach for the Son. The good work he has started, the end product he envisions, he will complete-- resulting in the fruit of perfection.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Phil. 1:6 NLT

Ruth Matthews