What dad’s last Kennebec Potato teaches us


It seems impossible that new life can come from death – but it’s true. This is my dad’s last Kennebec potato from last years harvest – and it refuses to die; not everything that goes to seed is a bad thing! Jesus put it this way:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” – (John 12:24-25).

Jesus does not promote self-hatred in the worthlessness sense. But he does promote selflessness, that is, regarding the life of others more than your own – which is what Jesus did. He loved me enough to “hate” his own life and die in my place. Furthermore, it is not disregard for one’s own life that Jesus advises, but hope for another world unlike this one where sin still abides. I’m so thankful that dad saw this distinction. Yes, he loved this life and everything about it because he knew the one who created the potato, and, he did not keep his life to himself – he copied his redeemer’s example.

Strange how such life, vigor, hope, and fruit can come from a decaying starchy, perennial nightshade called the Solaneum Tuberosum. One can do all the research on the potato till your heart is content on the science behind what is going on with this little spud, but I prefer to just sit in wonder. Studying this potato with the eye makes it easier to believe in a future resurrection. It provides hope – even child-like faith that simply takes what is before you as truth. It makes it easier to believe that I’ll see my dad again. It’s reasonable to conclude that if life can come from death, then this little spongy guy is like a wide-eyed hint for our hearts: something very profound and mysterious and unbelievably joyful is at work – “you’ll see!”, says the dying-yet-sprouting potato.

The reason why “life finds a way” is not because there is an impersonal, unknowable, unexplainable force at work, but rather, there is God who not only created the world, but sent his Son to prove that Jesus “finds a way” to overcome death. And what clever paradox?: the way to defeat death is to let it kill you – then come up with all the authority to over-rule that hellish life-snatcher. Gotcha!





2 thoughts on “What dad’s last Kennebec Potato teaches us

  1. Thank you for this Ivan.
    By the time my mom passed a year ago, I was so completely sick and worn out, I felt as if I too was already dead, only pretending to live.
    A couple of days ago, I noticed something wonderful, in a discarded florist’s pot. A beautiful lily that someone had so kindly given me at the time of Mom’s passing has emerged from its mild winter’s slumber!
    I had felt guilty that I’d had no energy to care for this plant, or anything else, at the time it was given; I counted it as dead.
    But now, what kindness the Lord of all creation has shown me! That He would keep this plant alive, in spite of my neglect, to flourish again and to remind me that He has given me life! I need to live again as well, to really live instead of pretend.
    I think I shall plant my lily, and wait for those gorgeous, deep, blood red blooms that will surely come! God is so very good! I hope you get your potato in the ground; we all know that you secretly love gardening!

    • O yes – I do love gardening – all the round up that I can use! Sweet words and thoughts – thanks for sharing them with me. I still can barely speak of him without breaking completely down. And sometimes, days go by that I don’t think of him on a deep level, and it makes me sad – it feels like he’s slipping from my affections. It’s all crazy what death has done to us. Jesus is coming back with the biggest smack-down . . .

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