The Taste That Creates Hunger

I wasn’t born craving chocolate, actually. I didn’t know it would become a necessity of life until I tasted it for the first time. And I didn’t come out of the box loving the taste of a ripe, creamy avocado, or a sweet pecan; but it was instant love, and new places in my appetite stirred and wanted more. And I certainly had no idea when I was 5 years old that someday it would be absolutely vital that my taste buds be treated regularly to garlic and rosemary and thyme. And I actually thought I didn’t like apples that much, until I tasted one that had fallen right off a tree into my hand at the perfect moment of its crispy, tart sweetness. I flat out expected NOT to like the spicy burn of red peppers, until one day, against my will, they came, and won me over. Big time.
For the first almost 30 years of my life, I had no appetite for God, either…until one day I asked him to give me a real taste, a taste that would usurp the mass-produced version I had sniffed occasionally at the market and kept putting back. One real taste of Him, and I could never live another day without Him.
For now I’m going to slip right past the fact that all of us who know Christ should provide a good taste of him to others. Today I just write to say, when you think of others who need to know Him, pray that God will send His Spirit to give them an authentic taste of Himself. It’s a good prayer, efficient, and in my imagination, one the Lord would not hesitate to answer.

Tickling the Fruit

When I encountered the plum tree in a field nearby I was delighted to find it full, laden with plums in every stage of maturing, and some which had fallen to the ground in their ripeness.¬†¬†Since my husband loves plums, I grabbed a bag to pick some, and my Iowa lessons came back — those many things I learned in the land of abundant farming and gardens. Namely, fruit is perfectly ready for the picking when it practically falls into your hand. Pick it before this point, and you will miss its most delightful sweet glory; wait too long and it falls to the ground to be bruised and pecked at and gnawed on by critters. I was staring at quite a few of those.

It is tempting to tug on the fruit, which the uninformed will do (that’s you no more), but the trick is to tickle the fruit on the bottom, or gently cup it and lift it slightly. It will fall right into your hand if it is ready. Any fruit you tickle that does not yield itself easily should be left for tomorrow; it is not ready, even if it looks like it is.

I thank you, Lord, for my sojourn in Iowa and what you taught me there. Especially how you treat your children this same way. While we are growing, as we always are in one way or another, you come gently to test our readiness and ripeness to be plucked. You never yank us off and offer us up to the world for tasting prematurely, but wait patiently for however many tomorrows of ripening we need. This is, of course, for your sake as well as ours, because whoever tastes of us tastes of YOU, for better or worse.

And may we all be likewise gentle with others when we test the fullness of their maturity.
Blessing you to grow under His gentle husbandry,

Parable of the Topsy Turvy Tomato

Advertising works. Thus we tried the Topsy Turvy Tomato planter this year, that novel invention where your planter hangs up high to avoid all weed pulling and thwart the cutworms and promising a great crop thereby. We bought the planter, carefully chose a “Better Bush” tomato plant, and assembling all, hung it by our front porch with care. Here is our harvest:

This beauty is it. One solitary, lovely tomato. Indeed, pulled no weeds, warred with no cutworms…ONE beautiful tomato. We made a ceremony out of harvesting it; no careless swift plucking of this baby! And now it is in the house, awaiting its purpose, still commanding reverence. Even while it seems silly to me, inescapably, I don’t want to make this decision lightly, because we only got ONE. What to do with it? Shall I drizzle olive oil on it, top it with basil? Shall I have the Grillmeister (Ron) put it on the grill with some other summer veggies? Shall I use it for a crown on our dinner salads? Shall I just cut it open and eat it out of hand? How to consume the life of my one home-grown, topsy turvy tomato?

And being the Bible teacher that I am, designed by God to search for and reveal His lesson in EVERYTHING, I’m pondering not just the tomato’s fate, but my own reaction to it. If there had been 10 tomatoes, or five, or even two, I don’t believe this dilemma would be upon me, and this tomato would seem ordinary, lost in the crowd, probably down my gullet by now. But no, its solitary uniqueness has caused it to become sort of holy in my sight; I feel a responsibility to use to its very best potential. And, get ready for it….. Does God the creator face this same wonderment of possibility and purpose regarding each one of his uniquely created individuals?