Most people really love fresh tomatoes. Anytime we talk gardening, it’s usually one of the first things that comes up. Even though we grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and berries, people like to discuss tomatoes. They are the garden darling—the favorite. I have to admit, there is no comparison between the taste of homegrown tomatoes and store-bought ones. One is delicious, and the other barely qualifies as edible.
There are much easier things to grow, but we continue to invest a lot of time, energy and effort on growing tomatoes because they are just so good! It’s fun to hear other people’s strategies about how they grow tomatoes. Some people are very serious about it and have developed methods that seem to be steeped more in tradition and folklore than science. Their plans take into consideration many factors including planting times, soil conditions, varieties, weather conditions and even the moon cycles.
It doesn’t matter if they are growing one tomato plant or 40, they go to great lengths to make sure that they have done everything they possibly can to ensure that their tomatoes are off to a great start and have the opportunity to not only survive, but to thrive.
My whole life, I’ve heard my dad tell stories about how much he used to love growing and canning the Porter variety of tomatoes. He’s probably grown and tasted hundreds of different kinds of tomatoes, but he always comes back to the Porter. It was his favorite. My mom, on the other hand, always enjoyed growing Big Boys and Beefsteaks. I have my favorites too, as I’m sure you do. Since planting time is just a few weeks away, I want to share with you a few of the varieties that we grow and consider to be our favorites.
We’re not tomatoes, but at some point, each of us have probably experienced what it feels like to be the favorite. We also know how it feels to be the not-so-favored-one. It’s one thing to be favored by family members or friends, but it is something entirely different when you are favored by the God, Himself.
As we look at Scripture, it’s interesting to read about different people who were favored. In Gen. 6:8 we read, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord,” and we know how that story ends. Noah was obedient to God, and God spared his life and his entire family in the ark from the flood.
In Luke 1:28 we read of Mary, “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” And, we know how that story ends as well. Mary was obedient to God, and she gave birth to Jesus, God the Son.
Stop for a moment and imagine with me what it is like to be one of God’s favorites! Not your grandma’s favorite or your boss’s favorite but the favorite of God Almighty—the Creator of All, His favorite. Can you see how that might have some benefits? How there might be some blessings in that?
My friend, did you know that Psalm 84:11 tells us that “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly”? As we make our best, worst effort in the presence of a holy God to walk uprightly, He bestows favor and honor on us like confetti! According to Isa. 30:18, “Therefore, the Lord longs to be gracious to you.” Let this soak in.
It doesn’t say that He would sort of like to extend some graciousness your way. No! It says that He longs to be gracious to you. To have a longing feeling is like aching to do something. He literally aches to show you that you are His favorite and be gracious to you. Too often, we feel like God is a celestial sheriff waiting to shoot us down, when in fact the exact opposite is true.
May you take joy this season in planning your tomato crop as well as knowing that our Heavenly Father loves and favors you.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).