Seeds really are fascinating little things. Before this whole Community Garden business, I knew precious little about seeds. And still do. I can only claim to recognize a few of the important ones. Corn kernels. Sunflower seeds in the birdfeeder. Dandelion tufts. The ‘whirligigs’ that come of the maples in the fall. Some seeds I eat. Some I throw out in the compost. Most I pay no attention to whatsoever.
The other day I was planting herb seeds in little peat pellets (if you have never put water on a peat pellet and watched it grow, you are missing out; it’s like Glow Worm fireworks only without the fire). Each kind of plant had its different kind of seeds, tiny, dull, and unimpressive, giving no hints as to what it would produce. But I was planting those seeds with the hope that eventually I would be harvesting what it said on the packet. I was planting with the hopes getting results. Like most of us do with our flowers, and veggies, and pristine, crabgrass-free lawns. We take such care with what we plant in the earth, knowing we will reap what we sow. But do we take that same care with the actions and attitudes that we sow in the world?
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With what we say and do, we plant seeds in the world. How we treat one another, how we treat ourselves, our words and deeds, they are like little kernels waiting to germinate. And whatever it is we plant around us, that’s what’s going to grow. Jesus was fond of saying that the tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33) And the apostle Paul reminds us that you reap whatever you sow (Galatians 6:7-8).
Plant self-serving things, shallow things—envy, greed, hatred, selfishness, rudeness—and that’s what will grow in your life. Cheap thrills, degrading relationships, quarreling, back-biting, prejudice, false dealings; if that’s what you are sowing then don’t be surprised when it crops up around you in your life.
If you are putting envy in your heart about your neighbor’s hot tub, envy will grow into the rest of your life. If you cast rudeness everywhere around you, then don’t be surprised when rudeness springs up around you and takes root in your kids. If you seed the world with hostility and impatience and blame, then the harvest is going to be more of the same.
But Paul says, we can be gardeners of something much better. “Whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all.” (Gal 6:10) Let us look at our attitudes and actions as seeds that can produce something good in the world. Let us be known by our fruit and the fruit of God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That’s the kind of harvest God is looking for. And it’s something we can plant every day.
Stay out of the office gossip, turn off the stream of negative thoughts, pray for someone you disagree with, be respectful to others no matter how rude they are to you, be patient with the mom and the crying baby, bake cookies for your garbage person, do more to protect God’s creation, concentrate less on what you want to buy and more on who you want to be.
We can all plant a million little seeds of goodness in the world. Even if we won’t be around to harvest them. Someone will be. The fruit of God’s Spirit is good and tasty and it’s the kind of harvest the world needs.