Lesson from a tomato plant

Last February I bought four tomato plants: two Big Boy plants and two cherry tomato plants. I put them into containers, added appropriate potting soil, placed plant cages above them, put the pots into a growing area with the just the right amounts of sun and water, and stood back to let them grow tomatoes. The plants did very well at first. They grew and flowered and I was ready to see some tomatoes appear.

And, then the flood came.

None of the pots remained upright during the storm. One plant was never found again. And, one plant was badly beaten up and died before I could repot it. Two plants were in bad shape, but survived after I stuck them back into their pots. My replanting effort was nothing more that pushing their roots into the bit of soil that was in or near their pots. There was no careful placement of rocks beneath the soil for drainage, no care given to tender roots, no special soil added. These two plants would have to survive on their own.

A few weeks later I noticed that every single leaf had been eaten off the two tomato plants. I really didn’t have time to mess with them, so I noticed the damage, but did nothing about it. To this day, I do not know if the deer we have heard rumors of had visited the plants or if some worm had eaten the leaves. I just assumed that any hope of home grown tomatoes was gone.

One of the tomato plants didn’t survive the mysterious leaf eating. It remained “stick like” for the rest of the summer.

The remaining plant did something strange. It budded and produced four tomatoes. They were sweet and wonderful. John and I enjoyed them and marveled at the wonder of this plant that had suffered so much. The growing season ended soon and we continued with the work that we had to do. I looked at the remaining plant each day as I went in and out of our house. It stayed green and looked pretty good, albeit its posture is more horizontal that vertical and some of its roots are on top of the soil rather than underground. I knew that I ought to pull it up and put the pots away for next season.

Then it happened. That damaged, forgotten and ignored plant began to bloom again. Now it has seven beautiful tomatoes on its vines. They are getting bigger by the day. It is almost Halloween and I have green tomatoes growing on a plant that has survived a flood, the attack of a leaf eater, and my negligence.

tomato 2

 Have you been through a flood? Have people decided that you just cannot produce what you know you are on this earth to do? Been eaten alive? Know that your time has passed?

Stand up and get going. What we are called to do, we should do. Move out!


Luke 18:27. Jesus said, “God can do what men cannot.”

  3 comments for “Lesson from a tomato plant

  1. Bill Sheffield
    October 17, 2014 at 5:41 am

    This very morning I needed to read exactly this. You and John Stein Bless my soul. Thank God you are in my life

  2. Dixon, Eddie C., Jr.
    October 17, 2014 at 6:29 am

    I look so forward to your post’s each………Thanks!

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