My kitchen window is lined with bright red tomatoes, a bowl of peaches sits on the dining room table and purple bell peppers fill a shelf in my refrigerator. The freezer holds bags of squash, green beans, crowder peas and okra. Each evening Keith and I sit down to salads topped with cucumbers, peppers, and home-grown tomatoes. We feast on tomato-bacon sandwiches, slathered with good mayonnaise. I like mine with cheese toast.
Earlier in the summer we were overrun with cucumbers and squash from my little garden. They have played out, but I’m still getting handfuls of little round salad tomatoes from my bushes, which I pop into my mouth like candy. My peppers are finally growing, and I’m waiting until they reach a rich red color before they are picked and packed away in the freezer for this fall’s chili.
We have been in a time of abundance.
As much as I love this summer eating time, I’m thankful that I don’t have to depend on what I grow to last me all winter. I can’t imagine what it was like when farmers knew that if the frost came late or the rains didn’t fall, they faced the prospect of going hungry.
I think that’s why the theme of abundance is so prevalent in the Bible. People in Biblical days lived close to the earth without a grocery store around the corner. They survived through lean years and fat years and appreciated having a bountiful supply of food. They recognized that they could not control the rains, so they put their trust in God to supply their needs.
I’ve been studying about grace lately, and I am struck by how often God’s abundance is mentioned in the New Testament, especially in relation to His provision for us:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (I Peter 1:2)
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
When I read these verses, I’m reminded of how lavishly God wants to give me love, peace and grace. My cup runneth over with all the mercies He pours out. All I have to do is open my heart and accept His good gifts.
I’m learning to enjoy and embrace the blessings of today and not worry about tomorrow.
Abundance doesn’t last in the garden. The hot summer days are getting shorter, and the crops are starting to die back. I found out this weekend that my favorite vegetable stand, Ricney Farms, is closing for the summer. Our days of fresh tomatoes are coming to an end.
But we will still have abundance, just in other forms. We look forward to cooler weather, apples from Ellijay and pumpkin pie. God’s grace will still be there, in all its forms. The face of abundance changes depending on our season of life.
Living close to God is like eating summer tomatoes all year long!
What is abundant in your life right now?