Growing tomatoes (17-05-2022)
Reading (Luke 15:11-24)
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Although I have been gardening for many years now I have only been growing edibles for the last few years and would consider myself still a bit of a novice where growing tomatoes is concerned. I don’t have a greenhouse so all my tomatoes have to grow outside, but this doesn’t overly restrict the variety of different tomatoes that you can grow. This year mum and I decided we would try three varieties, splitting the packets of seeds between us. The first variety, ‘Gardener’s Delight’ is a tried and tested, highly reliable tomato which both of us have grown before. The second variety, ‘Marmade’ is a large beefy tomato that we saw recommended on one of the gardening programs that we watch and the final variety, ‘Goldkrone’ promises to be the best flavoured cherry tomato you can grow, according to the packet.
Six weeks ago I sowed the seeds, carefully following all the instructions on the packets, and then waited the 7-10 days that the packets said it would take for the seeds to germinate. Nothing happened, so after 14 days of waiting I sowed some more seeds of the first two varieties. There was nothing I could do about the Goldkrone as there had not been many seeds in the packet so I had no more to sow. Again nothing happened. I now had 5 trays of compost, all nicely labelled but nothing appeared to be growing. I was a little down-hearted, so two weeks ago when Rob and I were at the garden centre picking up some compost, I bought three lovely small tomato plants so that I would have something to grow.
The following day germination started in my seed trays, just at the point that I had given up, both Gardener’s Delight and Marmade began to sprout from their second sowings. I threw out their first sowings, but kept the Goldkrone, even though, after more than four weeks, still nothing was happening. And then yesterday, I looked at the seed tray and to my utter amazement there were two tiny seedlings poking out of the Goldkrone sowing. I was so excited, I ran indoors to tell Rob that finally and against all the odds, six weeks after sowing, I had Goldkrone seedlings. Then I called my mum to tell her the good news, that my patience had finally been rewarded.
As I thought about my delight at seeing the seedlings, my mind was taken to the parable of the prodigal son. I remembered how in one sermon that I had heard the preacher had suggested that the reason the father saw the son when he was still a long way off would have been that he was watching for him. The father never gave up on the son and God never gives up on us. He is always there looking out for us, waiting for us to return home to him. And when we do go to him, he is so excited to see us. God never gives up on any of his children returning to him. You may have friends or family that you have been praying for for many years and you may feel as if nothing is happening, but like my seeds, you don’t know what is going on with them and you can be sure that God will be waiting for them with open arms.
Father we pray for any of our friends and family who have walked away from you.