Tomatoes

One of the things I’ve done with the boys this year is grown tomatoes. Just a couple of plants, but I wanted them to see how things grow, to understand the process growth a little better. Personally, I consider this a spiritual discipline, although I’ve not seen it formally listed as such.

I wanted them to learn about planting, how deep do you plant them?, how important is soil preparation? Watering, weeding, feeding, diseases, and bugs, all need to be watched and tended to. How the cages that seem so big and useless at first, but later become the framework that allows the plant to flourish.

Neither of them like tomatoes, unless you first make them into ketchup, but they really like to go check on the plants. They spend most of the time looking at how big the plant is, and how many tomatoes are on them.

I don’t know how much time they think about the roots. My guess is not much. I’m a lot like that.

I’ve been pondering this article from A.W. Tozer in The Root of the Righteous . Tending to the root of anything is, by and large, hidden. It’s aim is for soundness for the long haul. It requires regular maintenance, knowledge of what you’re doing. 

ONE MARKED DIFFERENCE between the faith of our fathers as conceived by the fathers and the same faith as understood and lived by their children is that the fathers were concerned with the root of the matter, while their present-day descendants seem concerned only with the fruit.

This appears in our attitude toward certain great Christian souls whose names are honored among the churches, as, for instance, Augustine and Bernard in earlier times, or Luther and Wesley in times more recent. Today we write the biographies of such as these and celebrate their fruit, but the tendency is to ignore the root out of which the fruit sprang. “The root of the righteous yieldeth fruit,” said the wise man in the Proverbs.

Our fathers looked well to the root of the tree and were willing to wait with patience for the fruit to appear. We demand the fruit immediately even though the root may be weak and knobby or missing altogether. Impatient Christians today explain away the simple beliefs of the saints of other days and smile off their serious-minded approach to God and sacred things. They were victims of their own limited religious outlook, but great and sturdy souls withal who managed to achieve a satisfying spiritual experience and do a lot of good in the world in spite of their handicaps. So we’ll imitate their fruit without accepting their theology or inconveniencing ourselves too greatly by adopting their all-or-nothing attitude toward religion.

So we say (or more likely think without saying), and every voice of wisdom, every datum of religious experience, every law of nature tells us how wrong we are. The bough that breaks off from the tree in a storm may bloom briefly and give to the unthinking passer-by the impression that it is a healthy and fruitful branch, but its tender blossoms will soon perish and the bough itself wither and die. There is no lasting life apart from the root.

Much that passes for Christianity today is the brief bright effort of the severed branch to bring forth its fruit in its season. But the deep laws of life are against it. Preoccupation with appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root of the true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go unheeded.

Immediate “results” are all that matter, quick proofs of present success without a thought of next week or next year. Religious pragmatism is running wild among the orthodox. Truth is whatever works. If it gets results it is good. There is but one test for the religious leader: success. Everything is forgiven him except failure.

A tree can weather almost any storm if its root is sound, but when the fig tree which our Lord cursed “dried up from the roots” it immediately “withered away.” A church that is soundly rooted cannot be destroyed, but nothing can save a church whose root is dried up. No stimulation, no advertising campaigns, no gifts of money and no beautiful edifice can bring back life to the rootless tree.

With a happy disregard for consistency of metaphor the Apostle Paul exhorts us to look to our sources. “Rooted and grounded in love,” he says in what is obviously a confusion of figure; and again he urges his readers to be “rooted and built up in him,” which envisages the Christian both as a tree to be well rooted and as a temple to rise on a solid foundation.

The whole Bible and all the great saints of the past join to tell us the same thing. “Take nothing for granted,” they say to us. “Go back to the grass roots. Open your hearts and search the Scriptures. Bear your cross, follow your Lord and pay no heed to the passing religious vogue. The masses are always wrong. In every generation the number of the righteous is small. Be sure you are among them.” “A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.” ( Article taken from The Root of the Righteous, Chapter 1 )

 

 

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2 Responses to “Tomatoes”

  1. Pay No Heed To The Passing Religious Vogue « The Cruciform Life Blog Says:

    […] friend and fellow blogger, Seaton, recently posted a quote from A. W. Tozer that addresses this issue.  Keep in mind that he wrote […]

  2. thenonconformer Says:

    God’s Word provides us with all the purpose and direction that we could ever need. God also gives us something more to be able to live the Christian life, he also gives us the anointing of the Holy Spirit,. The bad churches deny both, the bad Anglican churches included. Bad pastors, bad elders also bad churches even professing Christian evangelical churches such as the Christian Missionary Alliance, Dispensational Brethren ones, others too, use the “BAIT AND SWITCH” approach.. the next falsely deviate from the Bible’s teaching.. (Isa 2:22 KJV) Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

    (Isa 65:2 KJV) I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; .. 5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. 6 KJV) Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,

    Evangelical Snobbery By Aiden Wilson Tozer

    WE ARE A BAD LOT, WE SONS OF ADAM. One convincing proof of our inherent badness is the way we manage to turn good into evil and make our very blessings a curse to us. Indeed I think a strong case can be made for the belief that sin is merely righteousness in reverse and evil but perverted good. Sin is at bottom the abuse of things in themselves innocent, an illegitimate use of legitimate gifts.

    We Christians are cut from the same bolt as the rest of mankind, and while we have been made partakers of a new nature we have not yet been entirely divested of the old. For this reason we are under constant temptation to lapse into the flesh and manifest the old nature rather than the new. I know the arguments against this, but they have never seemed very convincing to me, especially when those who advance them are as likely as not to reveal pretty plain evidences of the old nature before the argument is ended.

    Because we are so very human there is real danger that we may inadvertently do the human thing and turn our blessings upside down. Unless we watch and pray in dead earnest we may turn our good into evil and make the grace of God a trap instead of a benefit.

    Among the purest gifts we have received from God is truth. Another gift almost as precious, and without which the first would be meaningless, is our ability to grasp truth and appreciate it. For these priceless treasures we should be profoundly grateful; for them our thanks should rise to the Giver of all good gifts throughout the day and in the night seasons. And because these and all other blessings flow to us by grace without merit or worth on our part, we should be very humble and watch with care lest such undeserved favors, if unappreciated, be taken from us.

    Men are notoriously lacking in gratitude. Bible history reveals that Israel often took God’s gifts too casually and so turned their blessings into a curse. This human fault appears also in the New Testament, and the activities of Christians through the centuries show that as Christ was followed by Satan in the wilderness so truth is often accompanied by a strong temptation to pride. The very truth that makes men free may be and often is fashioned into chains to keep them in bondage. And never forget it: there is no pride so insidious and yet so powerful as the pride of orthodoxy.

    Snobbery is the child of pride. Pride at first may be eager and ambitious as it tries to make a place for itself or to prove that it has already attained that place. Later it loses its eager quality and becomes defensive. Finally it ceases to struggle or defend and accepts its own image of itself as something too well established for discussion and too beautiful to improve. When it reaches that stage it has produced a snob, and no snob is ever aware that he is one.

    The snob whose claim to superiority is her material possessions is a comical figure, but because she is so pathetic she may with some effort be tolerated. The snob whose glory lies in her ancestors is less easy to endure, but she may be dismissed with the remark that since all she has to be proud of is her forebears the best part of her is under ground. But what shall we say of the intellectual snob? He is unbearable, a man difficult to love and impossible to like. A new school of evangelical Christianity has come up of late which appears to me to be in grave danger of producing a prime crop of intellectual snobs. The disciples of this school are orthodox in creed, if by that we mean that they hold the fundamental tenets of the historic faith; but right there the similarity of their school to New Testament Christianity ends. Their spirit is quite other than the spirit of the early church.

    This new breed of Christian may be identified by certain field marks. One is the habit of puffing out the chest and uttering a noise that sounds suspiciously like crowing. Another is the habit of nesting so high that ordinary Christians have difficulty in locating the aerie, and when they do they are unable to climb to it. Then, the song is also quite noticeable in that it consists almost wholly of imitations. Rarely does one of them manage to give forth an original note, but each one waits to hear what Barth or Brunner or Bultmann or Tillich has to say and then imitates it as nearly as possible, only transposing it into the orthodox key. Their mating call is a shrill “Me too! Me too!” which may be heard any time between September and June ringing through the halls of various institutions of evangelical higher learning.

    What is overlooked by this new school is that truth is not mental only but moral. The Apostles’ Creed quoted in pride, though true, is not true for the one who thus quotes it; one indispensable quality is missing—humility. A theological fact becomes a spiritual truth only when it is received by a humble mind. The proud mind, however orthodox, can never know spiritual truth. Light means nothing to a blind man.

    In the Christian life we know most when we know that we do not know, and we understand best when we know that we understand little and that there is much that we will never understand. In the Scriptures knowledge is a kind of experience and wisdom has a moral content. Knowledge without humility is vanity. The religious snob is devoid of truth. Snobbery and truth are irreconcilable.

    The Alliance Witness, vol. 97, no. 24, p. 2, Nov. 28, 1962.

    http://witnessed.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/christian-missionary-alliance-2/

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