I once planted a mango seed. I was a kid, maybe 5 years old, and after eating a mango, I went to the backyard and buried the seed in the soil among the plants. Many months later, while playing outside (I was always outside which easily made me the darkest brother, some would say the darkest mind as well), I noticed a little stem coming out from the soil. I didn’t know what it was but being a curious kid I dug around the stem to find the mango seed I had planted with a small stem attached to it on top and little bristle-like roots coming out of it.
I was sooo excited.
I took my tree in one hand and ran to inside. “Mom!!! I have a tree!!!” I shouted as I hurried to show her. When I found her I announced, “Mom!!! Look! I have a tree!” and held out my my stemmed-seed. “The mango seed I planted grew into a tree!”
She looked at me and my mango seed and said, “That’s not a tree. That’s a stem. What are you doing with it in your hand? A seed needs to be planted for it to grow into a tree. Put it back before it dies.”
I didn’t want my tree, I mean my stem, to die, so I ran back outside, and planted the seed once more. I thought to myself, “I can’t believe it. I actually have my own tree.”
The next day, first thing when I woke up, I ran to the backyard to check on my upcoming-mango tree. I saw the little stem and wanted to check on the roots too, so I dug around it, picked-it-up, and buried it again when I was satisfied.
The next day, I checked on it again. Then did the same on the following day. I was so excited for my tree, for its progress, for how big it was going to become, for the fruit it was going to bear. I was so excited that I kept checking on it until…
… until it died.
Many years later to today, I still remember what my mom said, “A seed has to be planted for it to grow into a tree.” In my excitement to see the seed become what it could be, I impatiently over-checked on its progress, depriving it of its much needed time under the soil, to grow roots naturally, and when ready, to grow-up.
Because I had to keep seeing progress, I ended up preventing the progress. I did not trust that a good seed, in good soil, with simple watering and the sun, would be enough to turn my seed into tree.
I didn’t have faith.
In many ways I’m still like that 5 year old (and past dates will say, “You bet!”), still as excited about planting seeds and seeing them grow, and sometimes in my impatience I find myself digging-up the things that need to stay planted and end up ruining them.
But during the times that I have waited, when I stayed planted and trusted, believed that God’s seasons were enough to make a good seed in good soil flourish, I’ve found that growth was inevitable. It was all just a matter of time.
We don’t have control over everything but we do have control over something. First, we can control the seed we plant. If you want a mango tree plant a mango seed. You can’t get a mango by planting a pear, and you can’t have peace if you plant strife, or love if you plant fear, or hope if you plant unbelief. You want something in your life, you have to plant that seed. You want love, go love others. You want hope, bring someone hope. You want peace, plant reconciliation. Whatever it is you want more of plant it.
Second, we control where we plant. Not all soil is good. If you plant love in the heart of a person who continually chooses to hate, the soil of his heart will choke the seed. I’m not suggesting only plant seeds in loving people, I think we need to love all, but just bear in mind that not all soil will lead to a harvest. This is especially critical for our closest relationships, we may plant our best intended seeds and never see what we expect because we planted in the wrong places.
Connected to this, we must keep our hearts soft and be good soil ourselves. How can someone plant seeds of knowledge and wisdom in us if we’re not teachable? How can others plant love in our hearts if we’re proud and fearful? How can others give us hope if we choose to stay unbelieving? How can we find joy if we remain unforgiving? Won’t happen. Our hearts will choke the seeds they plant.
Fourthly, we can water and wait. Watering means doing our part, our only part, in nourishing the seed. Waiting means trusting in the seasons, in their timing and power, that God uses them to turn small things into grander things. Rushing, trying to super-control everything, is like doing what I did as a kid, inspecting my dream to death.
Too many times we inspect our dreams to death. We compare ourselves with other people and wonder why we haven’t achieved as much at the same age, or don’t have as much, or why nothing seems to be paying-off. Sometimes we quit, then restart, then quit, then restart, and wonder why we’re not breaking through. Sometimes we just stop out of frustration and disbelief.
But as my mom said, a seed needs to be planted for it to become a tree.
Plant good seeds in good soil. Since you have a choice, choose well. Since you’ll be waiting anyway, make sure you’re waiting for something amazing.
And do your part and water. Partner with the seasons God has ordained.
Finally, trust your partner, God, who created Eden through His Word, and can turn the seeds of your life into a flourishing garden in due season for He makes everything beautiful in its time.