{PART THREE in a series on LIVING LOVE. (Though it doesn’t seem to fit, it does.) PART ONE here  and PART TWO here}

Meet Tom. (If you didn’t already.)


Tom A. Toh.

My mascot through the latest Tomato Madness…

IMG_8227 IMG_8235 IMG_8260 IMG_8237

Husband brought his head-to-be in from the garden as a curiosity, and I thought it really must have some googly eyes. Since none lay handy in the house, I made some paper ones.


He sat on the kitchen table and looked so much like he was listening when we talked that he began to feel like a companion.


“I’m going to miss him when he’s gone,” I told my husband. Shortly thereafter I opened the fridge door, and here’s what I saw:


So that’s where Tom stayed, because, after all, he’d last longer that way.

But later when I looked in the fridge...


Then still later…


So I finally took him out and set him on the counter. Where soon I found…

Yes, toms and zukes and happy apples all get old and wither away, and before that some of them lose their tenderness while others go all to moosh—like people, but much faster. And so each year the race is on!

We race the peas. And beans and tomatoes. And zukes and cukes and yellow squash. And cherries and berries and peaches and pears, and even onions and garlic. And if any don’t get the attention they’re “entitled to,” they get huffy and go bad on us, and there we are, left with a pile of mess to deal with.

I don’t know about you, but despite the fact that I’m thankful, I really am, for all this abundance, I hate being bossed about by beans, run ragged by raspberries, and pestered by the pleas of peas and pears and peaches and the call of corn… and yes, tyrannized by tomatoes.

I know, that little guy at the top of the page looks so innocent and mild, but put him together with bushels of his kind and the mob can get demanding… nasty!

Meanwhile, my Bible reading takes me to passages about Isreal’s despicable worship of the ba’als, and commentary tells me its riveted focus was fruitful fields of plenteous crops—which drew them away from trusting God to supply their needs (even after all that miraculous manna and such!)

They became quite enslaved to ba’al worship—tyrannized. Seemingly unable to break away to save their lives even when God’s disgust at it became very clear.

Then, more than one commentary relates, even equates, OT ba’al worship with that NT parable of the prosperous farmer tearing down barns to build bigger ones… for his overload.

Ouch. We don’t store our tomatoes in barns. We use jars and pantry shelves, and freezers. But when we remodeled this farmhouse kitchen, we did expand the pantry… then built more shelves in the basement… and just a couple years ago bought that new freezer, supposedly to replace an old one, which still stands, stolid, down near those cellar shelves…

The parallel isn’t lost on me.

So what do we do? Give away more?

I don’t see how. After a few visits from my husband with his bags of stuff, I think the neighbors start to hide when they see him coming. And you can’t send tomatoes to African famines, and even the local food pantry doesn’t want anything that perishable. 

Finally get rid of an honestly unnecessary freezer? (Or two?) And downsize the garden some more?

Maybe that’s not a bad idea… (Secret smile.)


Seriously though.

This really may be serious. Glut can over-occupy our time, and choke out love. Especially our love for God. Which is why this post is part of the “Living Love” series.

More on this later…

How about you? Does a glut of anything in your life hinder your relationship with Him?


For now, however, am I grateful? Yes, I am.


Giving thanks today…
  • … that the weatherman forecasts hard frost tomorrow (ending this madness—well, almost. There are peaches and apples coming in from the trees, and peppers from the garden)
  • … for peppers to eat—and some extras to freeze for winter
  • … for peaches to can (yes, our supply’s a bit low)
  • … for apples for salads and desserts, and for eating out of hand
  • … for the gemlike beauty of fruit in jars
  • … for pantry shelves
  • … and freezer storage
  • … and not having to drive often for almost an hour to the nearest supermarket and back
  • … that the local food pantry accepted our glut of potatoes
  • … for the times of near-empty cupboards and fridge, when God kept supplying wondrously, showing me I can always trust Him, in little or much
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10 thoughts on “Tom A. Toh. Could he Be… a Tyrant?

  1. I’m wearing my new t-shirt. It says living in the overflow…the well spring of God’s Love.

    1. Ah, Laurie, “the wellspring of God’s love!” Yes, “the water I give,” as He says, contrasting it with mere earthly water.
      Brings to mind a pertinent quote I just came upon about an hour ago from John Piper’s Hunger for God: “If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
      The big thing for me is not letting the abundance of the earthly table choke off the overflow from the wellspring of His love and real life.
      And, oh yeah, I originally titled this post “Tom A. Toh: Could he Be… an Idol?” rather than just a tyrant. Me surely thinks he (and a lot of other good things) can.
      Thanks for this input. God’s bringing a lot together…

  2. Your story made me smile. Our tomatos are just now getting ripe. A late variety. Just enough for salads and slices at the table. Our zuccini is about done and I have two large ones that got away from me that I will save the seeds for next year.

    1. Thanks, Hazel. We are sometimes a hoot around here—on purpose sometimes, and without intending it oftentimes. 😉
      Those tomatoes that come in small quantities (and I hope we get a few, too, from our autumn greenhouse)—they taste so wonderful, don’t they? And we appreciate them so much more than when we have tons of whatever overwhelming us. There’s such a life lesson in that…

  3. Great post. Very clever. I am the greatest lover of red sauce on the planet… I don’t think I’m over stating it here! My mouth is watering after seeing the picture of your home made sauce! I’ll bet Tom’s cousins are sweet too! Even if they can be an unruly mob…

    I tend to excess in all I do. It’s a struggle for me to find balance in all things. Gets easier as I get older… wisdom does follow that fear and reverence…

    1. Yes, we do use a lot of that sauce here, too, Floyd. It was when I found myself automatically reaching for a jar without much thinking that I realized earlier in the season that what we’d canned really wouldn’t last all that long. Excess. That is the key word. And sometimes we have a hard time figuring (realizing!) when we’ve crossed that line. So easy to get carried (driven) away…

  4. Very interesting read. I was glad that I came back and checked it out. I love it when people are able to take something as simple as a tomato and relay a message from God through that.
    He was quite the funny little tomato by the way.

    1. Thanks, Ida. I’m glad you got some fun out of Tom and his story. He and his tomato buddies just happened along right when I was seeing via scripture (and life!) how these things can be a lot like idols… and tyrants. Believe it or not, he’s still hanging out in the fridge, but he’s wrinkling up rapidly with age, and I think tomorrow, he’s got to go! 🙁

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