Ever picked a tomato out of your garden and chomped down on it right away, letting the juice run down your chin? Remember the incredible explosion of taste? I challenge you to repeat that experience with any tomato you find at the store. The primary motive of those who grew tomatoes for the store was making money not developing taste. In the eyes of business, it takes too long to let a tomato grow naturally. It’s too expensive to grow tomatoes for deep rich taste. They work for tomatoes that look good, don’t bruise and survive lengthy warehousing and shipping. That’s why store-bought tomatoes aren’t tasty.
There’s an illustration there about the difference between living by the ways of the world and living by the ways of God. The world’s ways are all about making money and having stuff. The world is more concerned with looks than it is with taste. God intends for us to live and grow in His garden, receiving His provision on His schedule – all the things Jesus meant by “daily bread.” The ways of God may seem inefficient to the world, but God’s ways develop “tasty” people. When we grow and develop in harmony with God’s ways, life is better – it just is. If you understand that, this quote from James doesn’t seem as harsh as it otherwise would:
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
At first glance, that sounds like the angry utterance of someone who thinks it is sinful to enjoy life! But what James is really saying is, “Be a real tomato!” Live and grow in God’s garden in step with His ways and in harmony with His rhythms. Receive your daily bread with gratitude and joy. If you go chasing after beauty, riches and fame you just may achieve those things. But you’ll miss out on the tastiest life. Instead, look to your Father with humility and thankfulness. Be a real tomato.
Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.