Photo by Joffi on Pixabay

If you have a vegetable garden, what you’re probably doing about this time of the summer is pinching suckers off your tomato plants.

“Suckers” are the little growths between the main stem of your tomato plant and the lateral branches. These side shoots may be healthy and vigorous, but letting them grow would only rob the tomatoes themselves of growth potential. Better to pluck off the suckers in order to direct all the plant’s energy into ripening the tomatoes.

An extreme example of this practice can be seen in the growing of prize-winning pumpkins. The farmer or gardener will pluck off all but the most promising nascent pumpkins, sometimes leaving only one growing on each vine. The plant is forced to pour all its photosynthesis power into producing one massive pumpkin. World-record-setting pumpkins have weighed over 2,000 pounds!

There’s something to be said for focussing on the important things, isn’t there? It can produce astounding results.

Maybe there’s a lesson here we can apply to our own lives.

We sometimes let our time and energy be diverted into things that are off-shoots to the truly important ones in our lives. There might be nothing wrong with these activities in themselves: they might be healthy and productive. But they’re actually tangential to our main goals in life, and only serve to distract us.

Jesus’ friend Martha got caught up in distractions when He came to her house for a meal. She was busy in the kitchen while her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teachings. Martha got annoyed at her sister:

“But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

“But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’ ” (Luke 10:40-42 NLT)

“Christ in the House of Martha and Mary” painting by Vermeer
Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Mary had it right: she focussed on Jesus and on learning from Him. She didn’t let herself get caught up in side issues and be distracted from the truly important things in life.

Like removing suckers from tomato plants, sometimes we need to pluck off distractions from our lives. These things are just siphoning off our time and energy and preventing us from funnelling all our strength into fulfilling God’s will for our lives.

With tomatoes, there’s also the time factor. There’s simply not enough time in our short growing season here for the suckers to grow into branches, flower and for the resulting new tomatoes to ripen, all before the killing frost comes. The suckers must be sacrificed to allow the main fruits to grow to their full potential.

The truth is, we each have only a limited time here on earth. There’s not enough time for everything we want to do. The harvest is approaching, so we need to focus on the things that will bear eternal fruit.

Sometimes we need to remove the things from our lives that will only “suck away” the energy that should be poured into Kingdom work.

Focus on the best, and pluck out the rest!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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