Spaghetti squash is one of my very favorite vegetables. It is incredibly versatile and a great way to enjoy a spaghetti-like meal without the carb overload. So last year I tucked a few seeds away and planned to plant them in the garden this summer. My son and I did just that, and we’ve enjoyed watching that plant grow and grow and GROW! It has spilled over the garden bed and fence and onto the driveway. It has literally taken over the side of my house, as squash plants tend to do. It’s beautiful, lush, and full of blossoms.
The other day my neighbor commented on the abundance and beauty of those yellow blossoms. “You must have so many squash growing in that patch,” she said.
“Not one,” I lamented.
As beautiful and lush and full of blossoms as that patch is to the casual observer, there is something that has gone terribly wrong, for not one squash has emerged. After doing a bit of detective work and research, I discovered that there is likely a problem with pollination. It seems that the local bees are not doing their job. Hmph! So the likelihood of our family enjoying spaghetti squash from our own garden is slim to none.
Of late I’ve been tempted to yank the entire plant out of the garden. It is simply taking up too much space and serves little use other than giving the false impression that my garden is flourishing and thriving. It bears no fruit and has little benefit aside from its outer beauty.
Then there are my green bean plants. I’ve lost count as to how many bowls full of beans we have picked and eaten. The eight or so plants that I have continue to produce a healthy, useful harvest every week. If you were to take a closer look at these plants, you would see plants that are far from lush and beautiful, and to the casual observer, one might assume that these plants are not producing fruit. There are small weeds scattered about, yellowing leaves, dry brown parts, thinness, and evidence of damage from insects. Beauty is certainly lacking.
Yet, when you stoop down and take the time to push aside the leaves and stems and weeds of these plants, when time is taken to look below the surface, a treasure trove of beans awaits. These plants, though outwardly not as attractive as my billowing spaghetti squash vine, have yielded much fruit. Even though one would assume that a beautiful plant would yield a beautiful crop and a homely plant would yield sub par fruit, these plants have shown me otherwise.
Outward appearances can certainly be deceiving.
I suppose this applies to our world today. How quick we can be to make determinations and judgements about people based solely upon what we see on the surface. We often take little to no time to actually look past what we see. We assign good qualities to those with beauty and poor qualities to those with a humble or even rough appearance. Superficiality is the name of the game in our society.
The Lord reminds us that the only way to truly know someone for who they are is by the fruit that they bear. Appearances are of no value to Him, but the heart is. In the busyness and craziness of life, we often leave little time to look at people at the heart level.
I’m thankful for the little reminders that the Lord sends to me through my little garden.