I was looking out the window during lunch today at my beloved (dying) tomato plants, which will soon be wiped out at the instant when the temperature drops below 32F. I thought to myself, "What good are annuals anyway?! Wouldn't it be great if all plants were perennials, coming back on their own, year after year?"
Then the thought struck me - I'm like an annual. So are you. We begin life, tiny and young. We grow up, until we are able to provide fruit to those around us. For my tomato plant, that fruitful period ebbed and flowed from late June to late October. Then death becomes imminent, and in a blink of an eye, we are done. What's left? What's the use?
Well, just like annuals - tomatoes, flowers, or otherwise - our lives are finite. Colorful, very fruitful at times, but finite. But annuals do leave a legacy, and that is their seeds. Annuals do a better job of making seeds than perennials I think (have you ever tried to grow a perennial from a seed?). One bean plant can give me hundreds of seeds (if I didn't eat them all summer!). Each of those store well, and when the conditions are right next summer, can grow, feed us for another season, and then leave their own abundance of seeds. God has created us with relatively short and sometimes rather insignificant lives. I will be sad when my tomato plant dies (this weekend?), and grieve much more when a person's life ends. So what do I do? I live for the season that I was born into - feeding those that I can while I am alive, and leaving many, many seeds for the future.
Rest in peace, my dear tomato plant. I want to be like you when I grow up!