Christians are as varied as the fruits of the garden 

By Debra Whittington

Religion Columnist

 

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”. Matthew 7:20

 

It is that time of year once again when the harvest brings all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables. After a long summer of watering and weeding the crops are ready to pick. It takes careful attention during the harvest as some vegetables lay hidden from view and turn from small and tender to huge and out of control.

As I write this I have a squash casserole in the oven. It is hard to have patience and wait for it to cook as I am already longing for the taste of fresh produce. There is nothing like it, especially the first of the season. I am blessed by the generosity of another who made this wonderful dish possible.

This morning, I was out in our own little garden. While it is mostly flowers, we have a few pear tomatoes, a couple of pepper plants, a grape vine, and one lowly squash plant. I picked about two cups of pear tomatoes and one pitiful pepper. I didn’t even look at the squash and grape vine as they seem to be frozen in time. They haven’t grown all summer and produced no fruit, only a couple of blooms on the squash. All they do is sit there and take up space.

I try to have patience and keep telling these plants they need to do something. I realize it may take a year for the grape vine to grow to maturity, but the squash is running out of time. If only they would do something to show they have promise.

It reminds me the story of Mark’s granny and her huge tomato vine. Mark said they took extra care in preparing the ground that season by adding rich compost. All summer long the tomato plant grew until it was as tall as the house but without even a blossom.

Granny cared for it, hoping for just one tomato for all her effort. It wasn’t until September when the first bloom appeared and then another and another. By the end of the month it was full of huge tomatoes, some as large as a saucer. Mark always commented that they were the best tomatoes he ever had.

Jesus had much to say about the similarity of people and plants. In Luke 6:44 He says, “For every tree is known by his own fruit…”

From my own garden I can see a similarity of people I know. There are those who eagerly embraced the gospel and possessed so much promise. However, they never grow as Christians and finally turned back to their old ways. They are like the blooms that never develop.

I also know people who took time to mature as Christians. When I first met them they were quiet and shy. They were the ones who took time learning and growing until one day they became bold soul-winners.

Finally, I know many Christians who are slow and steady. They don’t appear on the outside to be much, but they are persistent and do much work for the kingdom of God without anyone ever knowing about it.

Jesus summed it up so well when He said, “Abide in me, and I in you…for without me ye can do nothing”. (John 15:3-5). What kind of fruit (or vegetable) are you producing?

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

dawhittington@ msn.com

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