Pumpkin or Mango
God spoke: "Earth, green up! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants, every sort of fruit-bearing tree." And there it was. Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties, and fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. God saw that it was good. It was evening, it was morning – Day Three. Genesis 1:11-13 (The Message)
A wise and religious man sat under a mango tree in his garden in the noonday heat, and he looked at his pumpkin vines growing nearby. He said to himself, “How foolish God is. Here he puts a big heavy pumpkin onto a weak vine, which can’t do anything but just lie on the ground. And then he hangs those small mangoes onto a tree which can hold the weight of a man. If I were God, I think I could do better than that.”
Just then a bit of a breeze came up and knocked a loose mango off the tree. It fell right on the man’s head. Now he had a bump on his head which made him a sadder and wiser man. “Suppose,” he thought now, “that there had been a pumpkin up there, instead of a mango... Never again will I try to plan the world for God, but I shall thank God that he has done so well.” (Viane Etuale)
Friends, I had the opportunity this last spring to plant a watermelon seedling in my home garden. Months later, I had three watermelons. Reading this story, I would not want even the smallest of the watermelons to have fallen from a tree on my head. But the story is more than a mango or pumpkin fruit story. “The religious” is trying to outdo God in the creation story. I enjoy reading and rereading these creation narratives. They are always fresh; I glean something from them that I might not have noticed in previous readings, and I am always in awe that God “spoke” and creation (new life) happens. What power did we just witness? What amount of potential and possibilities has God given us to be part of the creation story?
In recent times, the phrase “co-creator” has been used in the context that we, along with God, help create. I personally have difficulty wrapping my tiny brain around that possibility, much less being on equal ground with God in the creation elements of our world. I can handle a “partnership” relationship, where I am given responsibilities for certain parts of creation. Nevertheless, God created, and never ceases in creating.
While in Hawaii with our youth group doing missions, I had the opportunity to share faith stories with some of the residents of the city streets. I remember “Solomon” on the Wednesday of “B&B” (Breakfast & Box) in particular. I remember his shopping cart that he pushed with his earthly belongings. I remember some interesting snippets of conversations where he was reluctant to at least acknowledge the existence of God. But I would say in a loving, pastoral way, “Even if you don’t believe, God still loves you and you are made in his image.”
There will be some faces from our 10,000-mile journey this summer that will be etched forever in my mind and soul. I will treasure our youth and their passion to sing, work, play and worship. I want to believe that when God created the Hawaiian Island chain, he knew that a group from Duncanville, Texas, would come one day, play on the beach, do some landscaping, paint some church buildings, sing some songs that tell about his love for all... even for Solomon, and even for this preacher who happened to be in the neighborhood.