I was shopping the other day in our market and needed tomatoes. I picked some absolutely perfectly round and red ones, still attached to the vine and delicious looking. In a basket near the display were some not so very pretty tomatoes. They were bumpy. They were wrinkly. They weren’t even all red..some had yellow spots where they had been sunburned. Needless to say, I did NOT buy those unsightly tomatoes, sure that they would make my dinner less lovely.
When I got home and began preparing our meal, I was pleased with my purchase. I diced the tomatoes up and placed them on the table to be added as garnish to the delicious tacos I was making that evening. My mouth was actually salivating thinking how wonderful they would taste. But when I took my first bite, I was so disappointed! For you see, they had no flavor. They were red and perfect looking but they had no loveliness about them at all…they just looked nice.
How many Christians do you know that are like those tomatoes? They look perfect. They appear to be exactly what you are looking for and yet, when you really experience them, they are tasteless. They leave you with nothing but disappointment because they represented something they were not…something lovely and sweet and instead had no flavor at all. In fact, you probably would have been better off not even knowing them, much like my taco would have tasted much better had I just left those nasty things off of it.
Needless to say, the next time I was at the market, I selected a couple of those less than perfect tomatoes to add to my salad for lunch. Yes, they were spotty and somewhat wrinkly and bumpy. But I have to tell you, they were some of the best tomatoes I’d had all year. Juicy and sweet and absolutely bursting with the flavor I remembered from my childhood romps through my grandmother’s garden.
It struck me then how much alike tomatoes and people really can be. Sometimes we pass by those who may not be as beautiful as our expectations. We look (we judge) by how perfectly someone is put together or how unwrinkled their clothes or how spotty their skin or even how much they weigh. But however perfect on the outside, they tend to be tasteless and nasty and unappealing on the inside. Maybe, just maybe, we ought to accept those who may not be as attractive as we expect them to be. For they, in fact, may be sweeter than we could possibly imagine and our lives would be better for having known them.