Devotions, Garden/Horticulture, Workforce

The Pumpkini

Read:  Hebrews 10:19-25

“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions… So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”

– Romans 14:1, 19 NASB


It had been a busy afternoon, interrupted only briefly by the rain storms that had finally decided to grace our all-too-dry farm lands.  We were about thirty minutes from closing when, despite the rain, we had one final sweep of customers and had to open up several tills to handle the flood.  Even this, however, was insufficient to meet the need.

I was standing in the check stand carefully balancing my tasks: conversing with my customer, operating the till, talking on the radio, and answering another customer across the counter… when the phone rang.  Picking it up, I gave my standard “thanks for calling” speech.

The caller waited patiently for me to conclude, then asked, “I wanted to know if there could be such a thing as a pumpkini?”

“A what?” I hesitated, my hands just above my till, waiting for me to total the sale.

“A pumpkini,” she repeated.  “I planted my Zucchini and my Pumpkins fairly close together and I wondered if it were possible that they cross-pollinated.  I picked a Zucchini today and it was green and shaped like a Zucchini, but it was hard like a pumpkin.  When I opened it up it was orange inside and had pumpkin seeds in it!”

I raised my eyebrows and then turned to my boss as I covered the receiver.  “Can a Zucchini and a Pumpkin cross-pollinate?”

The answer?  Yes.

As Christians, we too are able to cross-pollinate.  While stronger believers have the responsibility of setting an example, even the weakest of us have something to give as we engage with others through the act of fellowship.  As Christians interact with one another, we have the opportunity to build each other up, encouraging one another as we strive to develop a closer walk with the Lord.  And one thing is guaranteed: none of us will be left unchanged!

Challenge:  This week, keep your eyes open for opportunities to encourage other believers.  Then, commit to following through when those opportunities present themselves!

Devotions, Workforce

Women and Tools

Read: Hebrews 10:19-25

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a NASB


They say that seventy percent of tools are purchased by women.  Given some of the women I’ve met, this doesn’t surprise me in the least.  My mother is the tool hoarder in our family… and it doesn’t take long to recognize that not every tool she purchases is… well, immediately useful.  She’s conned my father into buying her (among other things) a set of chisels and a jig saw and, upon this particular occasion, it was a nail gun which topped her list.

It needs to be understood that at the time of the request, my mother didn’t have a particular use for a nail gun.  There were no projects waiting to be finished and no tentative remodeling to be done in the near future.  What did need to be done could have been accomplished with a staple gun.  But Mom’s mind was made up: there was a pile of scrap wood in the back of the house and that would do splendidly for what she had in mind.  My father wanted to purchase a brad gun instead, explaining that it was just a “lower caliber nail gun,” but my mother didn’t buy it: she wanted the real thing.

While the family found this amusing, Mom was far from alone in her lust for tools.  “I keep telling my husband I want one of these, but he thinks I’m kidding!” my customer declared as she dropped the tire iron on the counter.  “He buys me great romantic gifts, but this is what I really want.  Since he won’t buy it for me, I suppose I’ll buy it for myself!  It would have been very useful the other day when I was fixing the fence out back.”  She then proceeded to explain the lug wrench and a few other assorted tools scattered across the bottom of her cart.

What else could I do?  I smiled and told her about my mother.

 “Men just don’t understand!” she laughed.  “Tell your mother I hope she gets her nail gun!”

And I did just that.  Not surprisingly, both women found encouragement in each other’s tales, supported by the knowledge that they were not alone in their deep love for implements of construction.  In the same manner, we as Christians should find ourselves refreshed as we share stories of God’s grace in our lives with our brothers and sisters.  When we feel most alone, the companionship of these friends, their common love and common experience, will lift our spirits and encourage us to remain faithful… even though others fail to understand.

Challenge:  Close friends can be a big encouragement when it comes to pursuing a deeper faith in Christ.  Take some time to get to know the other believers in your congregation, encouraging them as they grow more Christ like and allowing them to encourage you as you do the same.  If you don’t attend church, commit to visiting churches in your area until you find one that’s a good fit.  You’ll be glad you did!