THE PARABLE of the TOMATOES: An unemployed man is desperate to support his family of a wife and three kids. He applies for a janitor’s job at a large firm and easily passes an aptitude test. The Human Resources Manager tells him, “You will be hired at minimum wage of $7.35 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop. Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day.”
Taken aback, the man protests that he is poor and has neither a computer nor an e-mail address. To this the manager replies, “Sir, you must understand that to a company like ours… that means that you virtually do not exist. Without an e-mail address you can hardly expect to be employed by a high-tech firm. Good day.”
Visually stunned, the man leaves. Not knowing where to turn and having only $10 in his wallet, he walks past a Farmers’ Market and sees a stand selling 25 lb. crates of beautiful red tomatoes. He buys a crate, carries it to a busy corner and displays the tomatoes. In less than 2 hours he sells all the tomatoes and makes 100% profit. He then repeats the process several times more that day; ending up with almost $100, and arrives home that night with several bags of groceries for his family.
During the night he decides to repeat the tomato business the next day. By the end of the week he is getting up early every day and working late into the night. He multiplies his profits quickly. Early in the second week he acquires a cart to transport several boxes of tomatoes at a time, but before a month is up; and having made enough profit…. he sells the cart to buy a broken-down pickup truck. At the end of a year, he owns three old trucks; his two sons have left their neighborhood gangs to help him with the tomato business; his wife is buying the tomatoes, and his daughter is taking night courses at the community college so she can keep books for him.
By the end of the second year; he has a dozen very nice used trucks and employs fifteen previously unemployed people, all selling tomatoes. He continues to work hard. And as time passes, and at the end of the fifth year, he owns a fleet of nice trucks and a warehouse that his wife supervises. Plus two tomato farms that the boys manage. The tomato company’s payroll has put hundreds of homeless and jobless people to work. His daughter reports that the business grossed over one million dollars.
So, planning for the future, he decides to buy some life insurance. So, he consults with an insurance adviser, and he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. Then the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send him the necessary documents electronically. When the man explains that he doesn’t have time to mess with a computer and has no e-mail address; the insurance man is stunned.
“What… you don’t have e-mail? No computer? No internet? Why, just think where you would be today if you’d had all of that five years ago!” “Ha!” snorts the man. “If I’d had an e-mail account five years ago, I would be sweeping floors at Microsoft, and making $7.35 an hour.”
Well OK… I know, you’ve probably heard this story before… via the internet. But what you’ve not heard is the comparison to that story found in Matthew 25:14-30; and Luke 19:12-28. Which is known as: …The Parable of the Talents. “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour. For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. You can refer to the bible for the complete story.
The point being is that we all have been given a certain amount of Talents, skills, and the ability to PERFORM as God wishes. Too often, though, we do like the one “worker” who buried his treasure in the ground, as he feared the Master would rebuke him if he’d lost any of it. The TOMATO salesman recognized that God had given him these “certain talents” and seized the opportunity to multiply his “gifts” many fold. In doing so… he also was able to “help his fellow man.”
Philippians 2:1-30 – So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
God gives us hope, in that the “solution” to the worldly problems are not all that complicated, or technical, rather, they’re simple and based on simply loving one another, and putting Him above all else. Sometimes, even, it is as simple as “selling tomato’s….
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