If I was a person that believed in spirits, the way some tribal people do, I would have blamed it on our friend, Arlin. He commented on the enormous growth in our aquaponic tomato plants as “Some of the biggest tomato plants,” he’d ever seen. A nice compliment and I’d have to agree. The steady supply of nutrient rich water to the roots and the lack of competition from weeds, made our first ever aquaponic tomato plants huge.
Then I saw it. That first dark spot on a leaf. A few hours later, more leaves were affected. I began pruning the diseased leaves. Thankfully the tomato plants had plenty of foliage.
But the pruning didn’t stop the disease. 12 hours later there were more browning leaves and more spots on the stalks. More pruning…
It was painful to see something that once was thriving start to die. It hurt to prune off the infected leaves and stalk. At first it was just foliage, but soon, branches with flowers or fruit had to be cut.
As I spent time trying to heal my blight-infested tomatoes, I thought about how the garden is a picture of our lives. Whether the church, the community, a ministry, our government, our homes, our families, our hearts… it all starts the same.
Things are thriving and everything seems wonderful. Then a small brown spot appears. One spot becomes two, two become four, four become eight, eight become sixteen and soon there is almost more brown than green. Now it’s not just sickness, it’s dying.
All that potential for fruit, gone. The once beautiful creation is now drying up, withered and darkened from the effects of sin.
It’s the same cause. Sin. The curse on the world. The thistles and toil that we must strive against since Eve took that fruit from our Enemy in the garden. There was no late blight on those first tomatoes in the Garden of Eden. Just as there was no sin until Adam and Eve disobeyed.
The effects of sin are everywhere. People we love are battling cancer. Others are facing heart disease or dementia. Still others grieve the loss of a child, a spouse, a parent… We live in a world that is less than perfect because of effects of sin on creation. Our bodies are weaker, our gardens are vulnerable.
Our souls are vulnerable, too.
Sometimes the effects of sin are just part of life. It’s painful to see someone we love suffer from cancer or to watch a garden full of fruit dry up and die before our eyes. Helplessly we watch and pray…
It’s a reminder though about sin. Some things are cause and effect. And sin is ugly. It causes pain. It delivers suffering. It brings death. It’s not a game and you can’t control it. Jesus taught that a “little sin” will spoil the whole.
The whole garden.
The whole church.
The whole community.
The whole ministry.
The whole government.
Life is busy and full and I think we don’t often take time to reflect on the simple truth of the Bible. We want to over look those hard parts about sin and what it has done and will continue to do to our world. Pruning the death out of a bed of blighted tomato plants gives one time for reflection. We want to thank God for sending Jesus as our Savior. We look forward to eternity and the glory of Heaven. And sometimes we still sin like it doesn’t matter. As if it doesn’t still kill.
Jesus has already won the victory over sin and death. And some day, maybe soon, He will make all things right and dry every tear from our eyes.
But until that day we live in a world corrupted and changed by sin. By the Holy Spirit’s power and God’s grace, let’s try to live as obedient sons and daughter’s of the King of Kings.
Let’s prune out gossip and slander.
Let’s cut away the hate toward those who are not like us, yet they are created in the image of God.
Let’s seek to become more like Jesus. Love like He loved. Serve like He served. Obey the Father, at any cost. Spend time in the Word, and talk to your Savior.
We can’t cancel the effects of sin in this world. But His love will make this a better place.