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A Reflection on Tomatoes


"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."- Hebrews 13:2


A few months back my dad gave me some extra tomato plants of his own to plant at my new house. Being a bit of a hippie – I was stoked to have my own veggies to grow from sprouts to produce. Brittany and I spent an afternoon planting them and, because I am a wannabe Christian mystic as well, we prayed over them. We prayed that they would grow and that we could enjoy their bounty and share them with my neighbors as a way to connect.


So fast forward some months to this past weekend. I get in from work and have one of my neighbors hollers over the hedges we share and strike up conversation. His name is Troy, he’s African-American, maybe mid-50s and a long-haul truck driver. We’re not much the same. Yet we shake hands and share stories catching up from the past 3 months since I last saw him. As the conversation ends I look to my left at my tomato plants and realize my plants are ripe for picking. In a flash, I’m reminded of me and Brittany’s prayer and this sudden opportunity/ responsibility.


I grab three of the best looking tomatoes and cross back into Troy’s yard to offer him and his wife. Although, we’re already cordial, it takes him aback slightly. He seems both a bit surprised and excited. 


 

Most would say we were just “neighboring” and simply shared some tomatoes; a serendipitous opportunity with the man next door. But I see it for the real truth.

 

God heard our desire, answered the prayer and created this opportunity to have a meaningful connection with someone quite different from myself.

 

The world deems things as common and natural what is actually a great miracle and grace from God. More so, we all to easily dismiss God’s kindness and gifts as unexceptional happenstances. Those tomatoes were God’s loving-kindness; they were a door being opened to create the space for loving my neighbor in a simple yet unworldly way. My father, both earthly and heavenly, gifted me seeds to sow that would become fruit for both myself and others. It is God’s great pleasure to love his children well. From there, it is my opportunity, or call it duty if you will, to be faithful with that gift and to honor the Father – by loving my neighbor with the overflow of his gifts SO THAT I might somehow share His love with them also.

 

The story is about tomatoes. Simple tomatoes. And somehow, also, it is about our Good Father in heaven who loves His children and answers their prayers out of His love.

 

-Brandon


Brandon Holmes is a native of Charlotte. He has been a member of Redemption since 2013. Brandon guest preaches and has been known to drop the occasional spoken word during a Sunday service. Brandon loves trying out different restaurants all across the city and bike riding uptown.