Posted in Family, food, friends, gratitude, life, loving others, Scripture, thankful

Vine Ripened

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

You know there’s just something about a vine ripened tomato.  Yup, it is that time of the year again.  Around our neck of the woods, it starts happening around the 4th of July.  All those folks who planted tomatoes earlier on are now enjoying the fruit of their labors. Oh, and by the way…did you know that tomatoes are a kind of fruit?  Well, that’s what I read on the internet anyway and you know everything on the internet is true.  Smile.

Well, every year some nice folks who raised tomatoes will call and offer us some of their bounty.  If we don’t have any we would gratefully answer yes and get some.  If we still had some on the counter, we would let them know we were good but not to forget us.  This year, like everything else from toilet paper to new windows for your new house, tomatoes are rare and expensive.  My friend was telling me how he paid $3.19 for one large, vine ripened tomato.  Holy moly that is like red gold, but I suppose a good tomato is worth it.

The other day, Judy stopped by a stand and got three small tomatoes and a couple of other veggies and paid about $7.00.  That night we had them for supper.  We put some salt and pepper on them and then some feta cheese. Oh my, and shoot that thing, they were so good and worth every penny.  Well, a couple of days ago, she got a nice large tomato from one of the local grocery stores.  I mean it looked really good. So, we sliced it, added salt and pepper, and crowned it with feta cheese and…it was terrible.

You see that bright red large tomato wasn’t vine ripened.  I don’t know all the details, but somehow most commercially grown tomatoes are picked green and then “gassed” and this causes them to prematurely turn red.  Consequently, they may look good, but they are almost tasteless.  They spend less time on the vine and consequently simply don’t taste as good.  The ones that hang on the vine, taking the time nature intended are so much better than the ones we force to maturity.

I wonder, no I know, that is true in life also.  So often we force situations and sometimes force people into relationships, and segments of life for which they simply are not ready.  I know it seems our children are forced to grow up so much faster than I was.  When that happens, well, in the best case they miss out on some of the great parts of growing up and in the worst case they end up struggling in life because they simply were not ready.  But it is not just the kids, but it can also include relationships.  We jump into marriages for which we are not ready…sometimes just because the clock is ticking, and we don’t want to end up alone.

I wonder if we can learn something from the tomato and the ones who grow them.  I wonder if we can learn the value of just taking our time…time to ripen on the vine and gain the flavor that God intended?  I wonder if we can learn to slow down and trust God just a little more?  I remember just how disappointed I was when I put that “gassed” tomato in my mouth and found it bland and tasteless.  It may have looked better, but it surely didn’t taste better than its vine ripened cousin.

I’m reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:1 which tells us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”  What a difference it might make if we let things have their season…their time.  Our world might be a little better, our lives a little sweeter and our tomatoes a little tastier.  I know that sometimes it is hard to wait for the seasons but if you think about it…it might be worth it.  Need some help in the waiting department? If you know God personally, why not ask your Dearest Daddy for a little advice?  I’m sure He would be more than glad to help.  And if you don’t know Him yet, go ahead and introduce yourself.  Just whisper a prayer and you will find Him ready to love and help you.  After all, He’s got a big heart and strong arms…and “He’s got this.”  Bro. Dewayne

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Southern born. Love God, my wife, family, and a great adventure.

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