Six Tomatoes

In our culture of achieving and acquiring more and more stuff and status and success, helping our children to recognize true abundance is one of the greatest lessons we can teach them. As much as our kids are bombarded with images of people driving fast cars and talking on iPhones and wearing two hundred dollar tennis shoes, it is not a surprise that their concept of abundance is somewhat skewed. As parents and grandparents, it is important that we teach them to recognize true abundance. Of course, in order to teach that lesson, we have to learn it first.

During a recent Sunday School discussion, our classmate, Diane, wise and practical, put forth a most profound illustration of Abundance.This is a topic that I have researched for several years, yet Diane’s simple, perfect, profound illustration made clear to me, this most elusive way of being, for the first time.

Diane described for us, her sheer joy at the discovery of a gift of 6 tomatoes left on her deck when she woke up one morning early this summer. She reported that, when she walked out on her deck that morning, she was thrilled to find the delicious, anonymous delivery. It cheered her to know that someone was thinking of her in such a heart-felt way.

The tomatoes were in different stages of ripeness. One was ready for consumption right then (which she did…cut in thick slices with a sprinkling of Kosher salt). There were a couple that would ripen in the next day, and two green ones (decisions, decisions…do I wait for them to ripen, or batter and fry them up, Whistle Stop Café-style, right now?). Then, Diane’s face lit up as she told us that the gift was so abundant that she was able to give away one of her tomatoes to a neighbor.

As I recount that story on these pages this morning, the Lord has shown me the metaphorical significance of Diane’s story; comparable to the gifts that He has given to us. All of a sudden, without warning, He comes bearing gifts of great abundance. Some, we enjoy and consume right away. Others, we must wait for, as they come into their own time. Still others are given to us in an unripe state— meant for us to develop, create, re-work, and make new.

I can only imagine the smile on our Lord’s face (similar to Diane’s) when we, His children, delight in giving away one of the gifts that He has so generously given to us.
As I write, I am sitting at the water’s edge, chocolate milk-colored waves cooling my feet in the summer heat. While I know that we are only promised today, I will delight in the abundance of this day. My chubby-cheeked grandbaby is healthy and has learned to sing. My mother is alive and well and modeling the joy of service to others. My boys are happily ensconced in their careers and families and my husband adores me [today!].
There are opportunities to learn and serve and read and rest. Does it get any better than this? If we can give our children the gift of recognizing simple abundance, we will have given them a great gift indeed.

                                             Thank you, Lord, for this Abundant Life

                                       For friends, family, chocolate milk-colored surf

                                                                           and

                                                            Marcel’s tomatoes!
                                                             My quiver is full.
                                                                      Amen

ps…As is usually the case with tomatoes…it’s feast or famine!  This week, our sweet friend Marcel brought up a load of the last of his delicious tomatoes.  As the Blue Bell ice cream folks say, “we ate all we could” – and canned the rest!

It’s been decades since I canned anything (I’ll tell you that tale in a later post – it’s worth the telling). But, I searched the internet for a good recipe, got my jars and canning “stuff” and got to work. It took me two days to make the salsa that you see pictured above. Anyhow, I’m pretty proud of it! We’ll be enjoying Marcel’s tomatoes well into the cold weather.

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