Monday, July 26, 2010

What We Can Learn about Discipline From Tomato Cages

Tomatoes and peppers that are caged or staked are more productive than those that are not. Absent that support, they tend to grow crooked, sprawl out, or flop over onto the ground. That’s not great.

That changes if you add the discipline of a cage or a stake. Although that is more trouble in the short run, it is well worth it. Staked/caged plants grow more vigorously, perhaps because more of their leaves receive sunlight. They produce more fruit per square foot because they take up less space. The fruit they produce is healthier because it is off the ground and hence less susceptible to rot. The bottom line is that the external discipline of a cage or a stake does a world of good. That’s why we’ve been soliciting tomato cages and are so grateful for those we’ve received.

The same dynamic is applies to people. Left to ourselves, we’re not nearly as fruitful as we can be, for a variety of reasons. But that changes if we accept discipline; we become healthier and more productive. In a word, more fruitful. That’s why scripture repeatedly stresses the importance of accepting discipline ourselves, imposing loving discipline on our kids, and the consequences of not doing those things. See Job 5:17; Proverbs 3:11-12, 6:23b, 12:1, 13:1, 13:18, 13:24, 15:5, 15:32, 19:20, 22:15, 23:12, 23:13, 29:15; Sirach 7:23, 30:2, 7-13; I Timothy 4:7b; II Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 12:11; II Peter 1:5-6; Revelation 3:19.

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