The Planting That Spreads

There is a story about a traveler who came upon a barren hillside in the French Alps. In the middle of it he saw an old man with a sack of acorns on his back and an iron pipe in his hand. The man was punching holes in the ground with the pipe and planting the acorns in the holes. Later the old man told the traveler that his wife and son had died, and this was how he spent his days. “I want to do something useful”, he said. Twenty-five years later the traveler returned to the same hillside. It was covered with a forest two miles wide and five miles long. Birds were singing, animals were playing and wildflowers were blooming. The traveler was amazed at how beautiful one old man had made the hillside. This story reminds us of what Jesus instructs us when he says, “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that endures...” (John 15:16) Each of us is called to plant seeds of love, peace, justice and mercy wherever we find ourselves. In fact, if we don’t plant them, they may never bloom in our families, our schools, or our places of work. But if we do plant them, we might be amazed to see the way they spread and grow. The person we forgive is inspired to forgive someone else and that person someone else. The person to whom we are generous, in turn is generous to another and so forth. That is the way God’s kingdom grows among us. But it cannot grow without us. What are we planting where we are?



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