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In our house we had a Saturday morning tradition.  We would watch a PBS favorite called, “This Old House” followed by its sister show, “Ask This Old House.  While “This Old House” focuses on a total renovation of an old home, “Ask This Old House” focuses on specific projects that can be accomplished in just a few hours.  In one such episode a woman requested the expertise of Roger, the landscaper.  She needed help planting a garden in her backyard.

For me this was nothing new.  Years ago my dad had commandeered a section of our backyard to plant a garden.  Having grown up on a farm, he relished this opportunity to teach us how to grow all kinds of vegetables.  So we learned how to plant beans, beets, carrots, zucchini, and lettuce – all from seed.  But when it came to tomatoes, we always started with small tomato plants – which is exactly what Roger did.

Planting-tomato-plants-deepBut to my amazement, he did something we never did.  Roger instructed the homeowner to plant the root of the tomato seedling deep into the ground, so that even the stem of the tomato plant was covered with several inches of soil.

Now this was counter to anything I had learned from my dad. We always planted the stem or stalk of any plant a few inches above ground.  So I was puzzled.  But fortunately Roger explained his reasoning.

While the stalks of most plants need to be planted above ground, the stem of the tomato was unique.  When it is planted deep into the ground, horizontal roots grow out from the stem.  Thus a strong root system is developed – roots growing vertically and horizontally – providing the tomato plant with much needed stability to support the tomatoes it would produce.

As I pondered Roger’s instructions, I couldn’t help thinking how it parallels a spiritual truth.

In Col. 2:6-7, we read this exhortation:

“Let your roots go down deep into him (Jesus) and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught.”

We need to be planted “deeply” into the soil of God’s grace.  We need a strong root system for our faith so we can bear the “weighty” fruit of Christ’s character in us:

  • the fruit of love for the Lord and for one another
  • the fruit of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, obedience, and self-control
  • the fruit of good works

But how do we “let our roots go down deeply into Jesus?”

By making the intentional choice to be:

  • Planted deeply in God’s Word where His truth can take root in our heart and mind.
  • Planted deeply in His presence by carving out dedicated times of personal prayer.
  • Planted deeply in a church where our spiritual growth can be nurtured.

Then our faith will grow strong and our lives will produce the “fruit” of Christ’s character.  Who would have thought that a tomato plant could teach us such an important lesson!