A story about a seed

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were Shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the oneI choose will be the next CEO.”One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, stillnothing.By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – He so wanted the seed to grow.A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed atthe variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed – Jim told him the story.The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!His name is Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.”How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the newChief Executive Officer!”* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective* If you plant hard work, you will reap success* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliationBe more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are,while your reputation is merely what others think you are.Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, But faith looks up!

Live simply, love generously , care deeply, speak kindly and trust in our Creator who loves us.

The Light shines in the darkness

Hello!  I have been away for a couple of days at a conference – a conference for church leaders and it truly was a light shining in the darkness moment for me.  There is a verse in John chapter 1 that says “the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overpowered it”.  It is an amazing verse and those who have been hanging around me at church will know that John chapter 1 has been following me around.  And today I signed up to a reading programme that comes with my Bible on the iPad and the first reading was John 1.“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

I remember reading or hearing that a candle lit in the dark can be seen from 3 miles away.  Something as small as a candle flame can defeat the claustrophobic feeling of pure darkness.  So it is with Jesus Christ – his Light can defeat the claustrophobic feelings of negativity, cynicism and apathy.  Later in John 1 we read that even Jesus wasn’t accepted by his own and yet his Light continued and continues to shine.When we are tempted to give up, when the darkness surrounds and there seems no way out, let’s look for the Light of Christ.  It may come from a surprising source but I guarantee that the Light of Christ still shines for you and for me.  “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

For a moment I encourage you to pray about your darkness – what is making your life hard or claustrophobic?  It could be ill health, grief, stress, work or family worries, personal issues, church issues, or the need for a sense of direction.  The darkness is anything that attempts to destroy our relationship with God.Ask God to help you to see his Light – the Light of Jesus Christ who gave his all and defeated death the ultimate darkness.If the light seems far away then pray for help to walk towards it, knowing that God goes with you.If you are in the good place of light, pray for your family, friends and all God’s children around the world who are needing the Christ Light.

Lord Jesus, we praise you that you are the Light of the world, and that you are the Light who guides our path through this dark dark world.  With you there is nothing to fear, yet the darkness seems all powerful, and it crushes our spirit.  Turn our focus back to you, give us courage to reach out for the light and restore us our faith in the goodness and love of God.   Let us live as children of light.  We pray for all your children, lost and found, that they will all spot the light of Jesus and be welcomed into your holy Kingdom. Thank you.  Amen.

Getting clean

I don’t know about you but I hate it when my shower is broken.  I have become so used to having a shower every day (as a child it was ‘on special nights’) that when I can’t have one I feel cheated.  This morning was one of those mornings.  We have finally got a new fuse box that will trip if you sneeze on a light switch (okay – not quite that sensitive…) but it is sensitive.  We tested the system last night on our return from holiday and the shower tripped the whole system.  So no showers this morning…but I managed to fit one in after lunch (now all is repaired).  No mean feat as both my phones went off at 8.10am this morning (it is nice to be missed!) and it has been one of those days where I have achieved much yet very little of what I planned.  The shower was hot and strong and after a week in the caravan it was what the doctor ordered.  However what I loved most was that clean feeling – the kind that comes after a hard work out or a delayed shower.
Perhaps you watched the snooker last night – we dropped by in between programmes and watched the final frames.  As I am Higgins fan, though I am not sure why, I was pleased with the results, especially after the last 12 months for him I was very pleased.  Nevertheless the snooker finished ahead of schedule and so Coast was the filler.  And the woman on it spoke about swimming along the coast line and admiring the cliffs from a different perspective.  She said that no matter her mood, a swim in the sea restored her and made her feel in control again.  I looked at the colour of the water and wondered about the safety of it all.  Yet I know what she means – there is something about being clean and refreshed that clears the mind, restores the soul and brings about peace.
Are there things in your life that you need to clean away or even clean up?  Much imagery around sin uses language such as dark spots, dirty marks or washing our clothes to be white as snow…we might not like the idea but much like the daily shower when arguably we are not that dirty – there is something lovely about starting the day clean.  Confession – cleaning away those moments we regret, apologising to God, each other, ourselves is just as important as saying thank you or asking for things.  And yes, rather like the daily shower/wash, we need to take time daily to clean up – for it is easier to clean away a day’s worth of dirt than a week’s worth or even more.
And perhaps there are areas in our lives where we need to clean up our acts and restore our ‘inner balance’.  I am not sure how often the lady in Coast sea swims but when she does she has to tell the Coastguard and others of her planned route etc, partly so no one tries to rescue her!  The sea swims take preparation and thought.  We need to take time to reflect on our life styles.  Do we need to do more than the daily shower/wash?  Have we become very cynical or over critical?  Are we more reliant on coffee or alcohol or other ‘unhelpful’ stress busting schemes?  Have our priorities become lost under the pressures of this world?
The daily shower is important but sometimes we need a soak in the bath or a swim in the sea.And can we share that with someone else?  Are we willing to let people know what our planned route is so they can support us rather than attempt to ‘rescue’ us?  I have had a week off and through prayer and reflection and reading I am working through a time of discipline or self-control for the rest of May.  It started today…but part of my ‘sea swim’ is taking the time to reflect on how I love myself properly.  For me that means giving up alcohol and making an effort to eat better – not because I think alcohol (in moderation) is bad but because the reasons I was drinking it for were not helpful.  And part of this is about self-discipline and self-control.  And if that sounds awfully selfish – it isn’t! I have included a couple of verses below.22 But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. Galatians 5:22-24 (NCV)
and:19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves,20 because you were bought by God for a price. So honour God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NCV)  To be fair Paul is talking more about sexual sins but we are called to look after ourselves.
Another one in Proverbs says that pride comes before a fall – have the courage to be honest with God, after all he knows it all already, and he still loves you.  Be clean and be refreshed and no matter what the day brings, you are right with God.
Washed by God,Sarah
P.S.  Question I was asked today ‘What is the colour of love?’  I look forward to your answers.