Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

This past summer, my daughter took a trip to Alaska. When she returned, she brought back a very unique gift – two packets of Alaskan wildflower seeds. The seeds were to be planted in the fall. So a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I planted them in a flower bed that we created especially for this gift. Now, we wait. It will be 7 or 8 months before we see if our east coast backyard will be blessed with Alaskan wildflowers.

Sowing seeds is a wonderful metaphor for our lives. When we sow good seeds through our behavior, like real seeds, they will spend some time underground, dormant. The fruits of our labors typically don’t sprout immediately. But if we are patient and wait in faith, where we have planted good seeds, we eventually will have good results.

We sow either good or bad seeds every day. For example, we daily plant seeds in our relationships with our words. Significantly, the effects of our “spoken seeds” aren’t always readily apparent. Let’s say that I say something cruel to you, and I hurt your feelings. Perhaps you may pretend to brush off the comment. But in the back of your mind, you now know that I have the potential for cruelty. That changes your perception of me forever. And the “cruelty seed” I’ve planted will now grow into mistrust between us.

However, let’s say that you are feeling down today. I see that you are vulnerable, so I give you a pep talk. I tell you how great you are. I remind you of all your successes and good qualities. I tell you that I believe in you and know that you are going to do great things in the future. What will happen to the “encouragement seeds” that I have sown? I won’t know immediately. You likely will do no more than thank me politely for the kind words. Nevertheless, I’ve sown good seeds in our relationship. I’ve shown myself to be trustworthy with your feelings. I now am someone who you will turn to when you need a boost. And our relationship will be taken to a whole new level.

We don’t only sow seeds with our words. We sow seeds with our actions. The simplest example of this is in our finances. We sow good seeds when we spend our money responsibly, save a portion and give another portion to help others. Of course, we will not immediately see the growth of our financial seeds. But if we continue to act responsibly with what we earn, before we know it, we will have useful things like a healthy savings account and a 401K.

By contrast, what if we spend irresponsibly and keep every penny for ourselves? Sure, spending as much as we earn may not seem like much of a problem when things are going smoothly. But our “irresponsibility seeds” eventually will grow into financial instability. And when we have an emergency, or when the economy takes a downturn, we will be in a crisis.

We also sow seeds in our health. Today, if I smoke, eat junk food and don’t exercise, probably nothing much will happen. I’ll go on living the same as I always have. However, if I do those things for years, at some point I will be overweight and have serious health issues. Those “bad habit seeds” catch up with us.

Now if I eat healthy food, limit my alcohol intake, and regularly exercise, I also won’t see immediate results. But by having good habits over the long term, I am planting the seeds for good health in the future. With those seeds, chances are that I not only will live longer, but I will feel significantly better while I am alive.

But by far, the good seeds that we sow in hard times are the ones that produce the most beautiful fruit. I think of hard times as having the richest soil. It is in times of struggle that we can grow the most in spiritual and emotional maturity. So when we are inclined to despair, we should try to plant seeds of hope. When we are frustrated and want to lash out, we instead should plant seeds of patience. And when we are weak and just want to fall apart, we should pray for God to help us sow seeds of strength. In my own life, I’ve seen that when I’ve sown good seeds in times of struggle, God has stepped in changed me as a person for the better.

Our lives are the result of the seeds that we’ve planted over time. It takes a while before we see what the results of our planting. But know that the seeds you plant today will affect your tomorrow in ways that you may not anticipate. So consider the types of seeds that you are planting. Make sure that they are going to create a life that is like a beautiful garden.

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