If you have ever grown tomatoes, you know you have to deal with suckers. Essentially, a sucker is an extra stem that grows up from the crook of a limb and the main trunk. It has a tendency to grow fast. To maintain your plant properly, you have to watch for them and keep them cut back.
Seeing them early, you can “pinch” them off when they are just a small sprout. If you miss them a few days, they grow thick enough to require a cutter of some kind.
The main reason you want to remove these is implied by their name: suckers. They will take the nutrients from the other branches around them, and the fruit will suffer. It will require more from the soil and produce smaller and less healthy tomatoes. As well as fewer crops altogether. In time, the sucker will grow to mimic its surroundings and even produce the fruit of its own. This may seem good except that it does so by sacrificing the fruit of all those nearby.
Our tomato plants have grown quite healthy. They are beautiful and full of fruit. As I was looking them over this morning, I noticed several new shoots coming up from the interior of the plants. They were young and beautiful. But out of place. Too young to fit into the visual of what was already there.
I couldn’t see their source, where they had come up from. The growth is just too thick. So I traced the shoots by hand. Sure enough, my suspicions were right. I found them to be suckers. But they had grown to nearly two feet in length. I worked my cutters into their origins and snipped them.
My first impression was a kind of sadness. They had grown so big and beautiful. Of the three or four that I cut out, two of them had fruit growing on them. But the reason I removed them was for the better of the whole plant.
Does this sound familiar? We all have suckers in our lives. And just like a tomato plant, they are there for themselves and couldn’t truly care less if they damage their surroundings. Yes, we do.
Maybe it’s someone obvious and we have enough sense to remove them before they get too deep into us. Or maybe it’s someone who has been a part of us for a while and they are so integrated we don’t even see it.
There are several references in Scripture about this kind of problem. Jesus once said, “’Do not give what is holy to dog; nor cast your pearls before swine’” (Mat. 7:6a, NKJV). Literally, do not allow people to use you. Don’t give of yourself to someone who will just take from you and move on to the next person to do the same thing, never caring about the value of what has been given to them.
Sometimes, we need to look at the people in our lives and take stock of not just who they are but what they are. More often than not, there is at least a few who need to be weaned from us. Does that mean we walk up to a person who has been a friend for 20 years and tell them to get lost? No. Clearly, we must use common sense. Of course, there is always that possibility that you may need to do it that way. Just make sure the Holy Spirit is leading you in such a way.
Don’t allow yourself to be used. God’s love must extend from us in all directions. That must never be compromised. But the love of God in us to others does not mean we are the trunk for some sucker to get everything they can. Truth be told, allowing them to feel that their treatment of us and others in this manner is okay is not showing love anyway.
Featured Image by fotografierende