No. 1207



My wife Janis loves home-grown tomatoes, and if you do too, I have a terrific idea to share with you today. First, a brief explanation of where I got the idea and a disclaimer, which I know is not a good way to begin a column.
At our home we both read a daily devotional book that is printed by Thomas Nelson Company and organized by Dr. Johnny Hunt, senior pastor of Woodstock First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga. This is a terrific devotional book, as Dr. Hunt commissions 50 different pastors from all across the nation to write for one week, using a different scripture passage each day. We heard Dr. Hunt speak in Branson, Mo., a few years ago and he is one of the best I have ever heard. Our motivation is a little deeper than that, as Janis’s son Roy, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Warren, Ohio, is one of those 50 pastors and has been writing for Dr. Hunt for many years.
Now that is my source, and the disclaimer is that I have never tried what I am going to tell you about, but I plan to as soon as the growing season comes back around. While that is still several months away, I may let you know how it turns out, especially if it is as good as I think it’s going to be. This idea came from Tim Sizemore, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Macon, Ga. Tim says, “I once planted some tomato plants in my yard using the Japanese Tomato Ring method. The plants grew more than six feet tall, and I could not give the tomatoes away as fast as the four plants produced.
“The most interesting thing about this method is that I did not water the plants themselves. I planted them, four plants, in a circle and the fertilizer and water went in a ring in the center of the plants. The roots of the plants would seek the nutrients and grow toward the center. I watered the roots only, not the leaves or stalks. As a result, the branches produced beautiful, delicious fruit because I provided proper nourishment to the roots.”
Well, how about that? I can’t wait to try it. Of course, Pastor Tim used this example to make a spiritual application. As we feed and water our heart each day and understand who Jesus is and what He has done for us, we will have bountiful and beautiful fruit in our lives. I know this is true because of what He has done for me. As I often tell people, I am just a sinner who God has saved by His amazing grace.
In relation to what I have shared here, there is a much larger application of the principals involved that we can use in so many ways. First is to understand the concept of the Japanese Tomato Ring method. I had never heard of it before, even though I have been putting out tomato plants for years. This was new for me and maybe for you as well.
Today as I look back over my life, I realize that I wasted a lot of time on things that did not serve me well, as it relates to making a contribution to my fellow man. This is especially true in the early days before I got plugged in and turned on to learning. This is one reason I spend a good deal of my time today encouraging young people to read worthwhile things that will help to build a solid foundation for their future success.
As the late Earl Nightingale often said, “We can’t be much better than we know how to be. Our job is to work hard to be the best person we can be.” And it is very important to understand that almost all real winners are readers. This is why continuing education is so important and really vital to our future success and happiness. I love the theme of our state’s educational television network, “Where Learning Never Ends.” This theme can become a mindset with great benefits.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)