Canning tomatoes is one of the more difficult garden season chores. You wash each and every tomato. You scald each and every tomato. You pound ice blocks till your arms ache in order to shock and cool each and every scalded tomato. You peel each and every tomato and finally you cut up each and every tomato. Then you sterilize jars, pack jars, and process jars. Only 7 jars fit in the canner at a time, so you go through that at least 6 times for canned tomatoes alone.
And you will have more failures to seal with canned tomatoes than any other thing you can. As you pack them in, pushing down to make room, you must be very careful not to let the juice spill over into the threads of the jar. And just in case you did that heinous crime, you take a damp cloth and wipe each thread of each jar. Tomato pulp will keep a perfectly good jar, lid, and ring from sealing.
In order to have that many tomatoes you must be willing to cut up a few that are half-rotten, disposing of the soft, pulpy, stinky parts in order to save sometimes just a bite or two of tomato. Now that there are only two of us, I usually limit myself to 20+ quarts. I still put one in every pot of spaghetti sauce, one in every pot of chili, and one in every pot of minestrone, as well as a few other recipes, it’s just that I don’t make as many of those things as I did with two big boys in the house. Now I can afford to be a little profligate. If I pick up a tomato with a large bad spot, I am just as likely to toss the whole thing rather than try to save the bite or two that is good, especially if it is a small tomato to begin with. Why go to all that work—washing, scalding, shocking, peeling, cutting up, packing—for a mere teaspoon of tomato?
But isn’t that what God and Jesus did for us? For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leads unto life, and few are they that find it. Matt 7:14.
The Son of God, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2:6-8. And he did that for a half—no!--for a more than half rotten tomato of a world. He did that to save a remnant, a mere teaspoon of souls who would care enough to listen and obey the call.
Sometimes, by the end of the day, when my arms are aching, my fingers are nicked and the cuts burning from acidic tomato juice, my back and feet are killing me from standing for hours, and I am drenched with sweat from the steamy kitchen, I am ready to toss even the mostly good tomatoes, the ones with only a tiny bad spot, because it means extra work beyond a quick slice or two. Aren’t you glad God did not feel that way about us? It wasn’t just a half rotten world he came to save, it was every half rotten individual in that world, of which you and I are just a few.
But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. Rom 11:4-5