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I walked by St. Clement and took a look at the flower garden in front of the church sign. I immediately noticed a large sumac growing in front blocking the wording of the sign. It had not been there a few days before. My neighbor, who helps with the gardening, was present and I asked, “Where did the sumac come from?”  He pointed across the street to a sumac tree and said, “A bird was probably over there eating its lunch and then came over here and sat on your sign to digest, and did his thing.” I responded, “How did it get that big so quickly”? To answer this perplexing question, I gave the plight of the sumac seed some thought. I pictured the bird sitting on the sign. Then the seed falls from the bird landing on a bed of soft peat moss mixed with a generous amount of lobster compost that I got for half price from my friend at the nursery.  There the seed lies, basking in the morning sun.  Then about noontime, it is showered with rain. “Oh, what is this I taste?” says the seed.  “Miracle Grow.” No wonder the sumac popped up so quickly. I have the best soil in the city. I give my flowers everything they needed to be productive. God likewise gives us everything we need to realize our full potential.

 Jesus gave a parable about a fig tree. He said that there was an owner who went to get figs from the fig tree but there were no figs. So he told the gardener: to cut it down.” The gardener suggested, “Hold it; let me take care of it for a year. I will hoe around it, put it in a nice bed of topsoil mixed with lobster compost. I will water it with Miracle Grow and prune its branches. I will give it everything it needs to produce fruit. If you do not get any figs, then you can cut it down.” The gardener is God telling us that I will give you whatever you need to realize your full potential.

Dad and I were in Home Depot one spring day and we each bought a tomato plant.  I planted my plant in our courtyard.  I watered it faithfully and checked its progress routinely.  At the end of the season, all said and done, I got four cherry tomatoes.  I was at my father’s house during the summer and he asked me if I would help him pick the tomatoes. “You need help picking the tomatoes?” I asked.  I went out with him with a shopping bag. He had so many tomatoes that he had two-by-fours holding up the branches. It was a tomato tree. How was that possible?  We both bought the plants at the same place. In fact, we took them off the same shelf.  Dad planted his in a field beside his chicken coop. You can imagine the rich soil on that fertilized ground. In addition to this, he also puts cow manure in a rain barrel, and every three days he stirs it up and gives his tomato plant a drink. Dad had a tomato tree that bore many tomatoes because he gave his plant everything it needed to realize its full potential. I believe that is how God sees us. We may think we are small and insignificant, but God always sees potential just as the gardener saw potential in the fig tree that was not bearing figs. God will never give up on us. He will give us everything we need to realize our full potential.

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