Maters matter*

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Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

When I was growing up, I didn’t like tomatoes. But I had to eat them. Those required two bites at supper were a small price to pay for Mother’s homemade desserts. And this same principle of being worth it held for having tomato chunks in homemade spaghetti sauce, vegetable soup, and pizza. My trick in eating was to focus on the taste while doing my best to ignore the texture of those tomatoes.

Even knowing I’d helped with growing the tomatoes didn’t help my liking of them. No amount of hoeing, harvesting, or heaping them in piles made me like tomatoes. Granted, I did appreciate the visual beauty of that one-perfect plump and juicy bright-red Better Boy sliced on a plate. But my appreciation didn’t extend to my mouth, then.

And now, I’m still not a huge fan of tomatoes. I do enjoy them on sandwiches, salads, or in salsa, and in quantities of far more than two bites. My appreciation for them does go beyond their visual and nutritional value but not enough to eat them alone, or just with salt or mayo.

Similarly, when I was growing up, I didn’t like submission. But I knew I had to obey. Not just in two words of “yes, ma’am” but with immediate action and attitude of heart (and mouth). Even Mother’s homemade desserts were often not enough incentive for me to stop or start doing something necessary for obedience. Two bites of tomatoes was easy; two minutes of humility wasn’t. (and still isn’t, unfortunately!)

And now, I’m still not a huge fan of submission. I am (slowly) learning to see the beauty and benefits of submission in the security, satisfaction, and softening it brings to my life. Choosing humility and its acceptance of the now, not-yet, and not being in control flavors my moments and my interactions with distinctive grace. Grace seasons my heart with love and thus, the words that spring from my heart via my mouth (see Luke 6:45). All the while, the texture of my heart and days changes from fighting to be in control to resting in His Sovereign control.

Even knowing these truths of submission, choosing it can still make me buck up like a wet hen. I am stiff-necked like the Israelites way too many times when I don’t like the commands given – especially those of waiting, watching, and not wandering. Those “big” tasks of adultery, murder, and stealing are easy; those “little” tasks of Sabbath-keeping and not coveting or lying aren’t. And hard doesn’t even begin to describe the colossal challenge of taking every thought captive as unto Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).

Learning to like tomatoes don’t have nothing on learning to catch thoughts.

Yet, I can look back to the repeated daily two-bite obedience at the suppers of my childhood as a guide for training my mind and heart now. For example, when I came to the table as a child, I knew that I had to eat those two-bites of tomato. And when I did, I would receive dessert and “good job” from my parents. Similarly, now when I come to fearful or waiting times, I know that I have to catch those thoughts, one and two minutes at a time. And when I do, I receive peace and Presence from my Father God. To clarify, it’s not that He isn’t there with me any less when I don’t catch those pesky thoughts. Rather, the sense of His Presence is even fuller and more pleasing in the good choice of submission than a perfectly vine-ripe fresh-picked home farm or garden tomato in July.

Dear Father God,

Thank You that You are a patient, persistent, and passionate teacher to me. Thank You that You show me the grace found in submission and the hope found in obedience. Please nourish humility and abolish arrogance in my life today. Please help me to take every thought captive as unto Your Son, Christ Jesus, in Whose Name I pray.


This post was a continuation from last week’s post (click on this link to read that post: Thank you dear readers for your faithful encouragement to keep showing up here each week. Thank you even more for your prayers and sweet support in word and deed. I am so very grateful for you!

*Special thanks to my father for the title name of this post. Daddy is THE expert on all matters related to growing maters. Feel free to use the contact me option on this website if you’d like some advice for growing bigger and better maters in your own garden. He’d love to help you!

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Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022.

Published by Beth Madison

author, speaker, learner

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