Suppose you came to visit me one day and found me working in my garden. I explain to you that the garden is a gift from my father. I then ask you to join me as I collect some seeds to plant. You have always thought I was a bit crazy, but what I do next removes all doubt. You watch me walk into a field and begin to gather seeds from weeds. Crab grass seeds, dandelion seeds, chickweed seeds, and others. I fill the bag with a variety of “weed” seeds and return to the garden. You cannot believe what you have seen and say, “I thought you wanted a garden full of flowers and fruit.” I reply, “I do.” You say, “Then why not plant the right seeds?” My response, “Do you know how much those seeds cost? Moreover, it is such a long ways to drive all the way to the garden center to get the good seeds. No thanks, I just do not have the time. Besides, this is good ground and I think these seeds will produce something different from weeds.” You walk away muttering something about a one French fry short of a Happy Meal.
It does not take a genius farmer to understand that you can only harvest what you sow; you can only reap what you plant. Funny, what we have come to believe and know about developing land, we tend to forget when it comes to hearts.
The hearts of our children are fertile gardens ready to provide a crop from whatever seeds we plant. The planting of seeds happens in many ways. One of the ways that is most often overlooked, but seems to be the one that teaches the best is modeling. We all learn from models, examples of how to do it. When engineers design a prototype, they then make a model to see if it works. People use models every day to understand and explain the world around us. Most times, we forget that others are watching. It is only when we hear a voice that sounds familiar (at least it should sound familiar because it sounds like our voice repeating something that we have said), and or witness a person’s reaction to an event that we realize that we have taught this behavior.
Jesus, when teaching His disciples said to them, “Come, follow me…” meaning don’t just trail after me, but do what I do, be what I am, become like me. He showed them how to love people regardless of their cultural background, occupation, or tarnished lifestyle. He gave them an example of a suffering servant. We would do well to remember that there are eyes watching what we say, and what we do. They are learning how to live, by watching the very example of living that we represent.
How are you doing at cultivating your heart? Whom are you following? What have you done to cultivate the hearts of those around you? It is not about trying to be perfect. It is about realizing that what you do and say lives beyond the now, and knowing that if you point to truth the path will be clear for those who follow.
Thanks for reading!