Have you ever noticed a flower growing in a peculiar spot in your garden and wondered, “How did that get there? Did I do that?”
You might see a rogue tulip popping up incongruously in the middle of your lawn.
Or you do a double-take when you see a cluster of flowers flourishing in the corner, but you have no recollection of having planted them there.
In some cases, squirrels might be the culprits. They’re notorious for unearthing tulip bulbs and burying them someplace else for future consumption, only to forget about them.
At other times, you might have tried growing something yourself from seeds but they never seemed to germinate. You give up and completely forget about them. A few years later, however, flowers are blooming in that corner after all, to your great surprise.
The same dynamic is sometimes at play when we plant “seeds” in someone’s life.
It’s wonderful when people respond immediately and positively when they first hear the gospel. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
Sometimes, people hear about God’s love for them, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. It doesn’t seem like they’ve internalized the Good News or that it’s made any impact on them.
You did your best to plant a seed in their life, but it doesn’t look like it germinated.
Years later, however, you might encounter that person again only to discover that they had indeed become a Christian some time later. The seeds you and others planted bore fruit after all.
Or perhaps you do a kindness to someone. It wasn’t much trouble for you, so you forget about it soon afterward. But years later, the person comes to you and tells you how much it meant to them.
Something like this happened to my family when I was a child. My father knew of some underprivileged boys whose own father had been in an out of jail. My Dad invited these two brothers along with us when we went to a playground and to a movie.
Decades later, long after our families had moved to different parts of the city and lost contact, we encountered one of those boys again. Now an adult, he approached us when we were all attending the funeral of a mutual acquaintance. Almost the first thing out of his mouth was to reminisce about the time he and his brother came with my family on that fun outing when they were kids. It had clearly made an indelible impression on him.
The funny thing was, when my family got home from the funeral, we realized that none of us could remember the outing that had meant so much to those boys. We obviously had done the boys a kindness years before, but we couldn’t recall the incident ourselves.
It struck me that we shouldn’t underestimate how much our kindness, interest, or sharing of the gospel might mean to someone.
They might not articulate their thanks at the time, and might not respond the way you’d like. You might even forget that you ever interacted with them. But you’ve planted a seed in their hearts that may bear abundant fruit years later.
You may not remember every seed you plant, but it’s not your job to make it germinate anyway: it’s God’s.
So keep planting seeds in people’s lives, especially about God’s love for them.
You never know when something beautiful will blossom!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.