While I was in undergrad, I was bored one day. So I began to grow a plant, and because of it, I learned a tremendous amount about life. Here’s what I learned.
I learned that in some respects, life is a reap-and-sow kind of deal. The Bible says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” For example, people who sow crime tend to reap jail. People who sow unprotected sex tend reap sexually-transmitted diseases. People who sow water and vegetables and fruits in their diet, reap healthy bodies and long life. People who are mean tend to have more enemies. People who put more effort into their hair, makeup, and wardrobe tend to get more positive attention and admirers. It’s all commonsense, but everyone doesn’t seem to get it. People think that they can drink, do drugs, and smoke for years, and yet they are surprised when they get liver or lung diseases. Whatever you are suffering of right now, you should consider whether or not you sowed the seeds for it weeks, months, or even years ago.
And just because you don’t see the results immediately does not mean that nothing is happen. When I first planted my sunflower seeds, I saw nothing for a few days. My roommate and I began to think that nothing was going to happen. But just as with prayer, I kept leaving the pot in the sun, and I kept watering it. Of course, eventually I saw a little sprout, yet for some reason, I was shocked. I was amazed that it even began to grow. It’s easy to be surprised when things work out because we’re often so used to being disappointed.
Life is a formula in some respects. For example, because I had 1. good seed, and as long as I had enough 2. fertile soil, 3. water, and 4. sunlight, there was no earthly reason why the plant should not have grown. If you are praying for something and believe that it will grow with faith that is just the size of a mustard seed – and if you give it time – IT MUST OCCUR. If you work at your job for two weeks, YOU MUST GET A PAYCHECK. If you eat healthy, YOUR BODY MUST GET HEALTHIER. If you sow a seed under the proper conditions, IT MUST GROW. If you pray in God’s will and believe, and are in right standing with God, IT MUST OCCUR. But remember, the conditions must be right. Life is a formula. Had I planted my sunflower seeds in sand or cement, nothing would have happened. If I had placed my planted seeds in a dark closet, nothing would have happened. If I had placed my seeds in a pot with soil, but watered it with vinegar or bleach, nothing would have happened. It had to have water, sunlight, fertile soil, and a seed. When you make a cake, it must have flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. When you pray and expect God for something in His will, it must have prayer, repenting, forgiveness of your trespassers, and faith/belief. 1 + 1 does not equal 54, it equals 2. There’s no way you can make it calculate any other way. This is similar to the way that eating foods high in fat and only working out once a month will eventually equal obesity and heart disease. There’s no way you can make it add up any other way.
One thing to keep in mind is that different seeds have different seasons, so some things happen sooner than others. I remember when I was around ten years old, I planted an orange seed in the dirt (believe it or not), and I had totally forgotten it was in the ground until I saw this orange ball sitting in my front lawn early one morning. (No tree, mind you! Just a single orange from the ground!) I had remembered growing some type of simple, plant seeds in elementary school, and it grew quickly. But a seed that produces fruit – such as oranges – must take a while. If a man prays for a wife, it may take a little longer than a man praying for a job. A man praying for a wife has to get himself and the future wife worked on first. A man praying for a job just has to wait for the phone call.
And when you get what you prayed for, please don’t stop taking care of it just because you have it! I could have gotten lazy or negligent with my newly sprouted plant and could have said, “Yay! My sunflower seed sprouted a leaf! The end!” But no. I wanted it to be the best little plant I ever grew. So I watered it faithfully and made sure it caught all the sunlight that the day could produce. If I had stopped tending to it, it would have surely died. Just as in a marriage, God can bless you with your husband, but if you stop trying to look good for him, stop cooking, stop cleaning, and stop having manners, your fruit/marriage will begin to wither and die. Please do the same things for the plant that you did patiently and excitedly for the seed.
Another thing I learned about life from my plant is that sometimes things in your life need pruning. I was kind of disappointed when a few of the leaves on one of the seeds I planted began to develop dieback. Dieback is when the leaf begins to turn yellow on the edges, and the decay starts to go towards the stem. It hurt me to prune it, but I had to prune the bad things off of the plant so that it would not end up ruining the rest of the hard work, time, and energy that I had put into caring for the plant. It may hurt you to let go of people and projects that you were really into, but if it will result in hurting your being or true purpose, you should let it go just as you would with gangrene. No one wants to lose a limb, but eventually that infected limb will cost you your life. So let it go!
Another lesson I learned was to think big. First, I put my little seed in this little pot. I should have known that with a sunflower seed, you cannot plant it in a little pot! Sunflowers can probably be the tallest flowers there are, so I should have planted it into a large pot because I knew that the future was big for it. I actually had to get a bigger pot for it and trans”plant” the plant and its roots. My roommate and I were afraid it might hurt the plant, but it still grew strong. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions like moving along to something else, something bigger. You may have gotten comfortable in your little world that you began in, but you must venture out in order to make room for your growing potential. Just imagine a tall sunflower trying to grow in a little four-inch pot!
I have also learned that you have reason to have faith in yourself and in others. Seeds remind me of sperm. Just imagine that you came from a microscopic sperm, and here you are at 120-200 pounds! God is amazing. Seeds have all the potential built in them to grow into living, growing plants that will end up being tall under the right conditions. Is that not amazing? We can all be amazing people if we place ourselves in the right conditions. Why can’t you be the next president? Another sperm ended up being one; so can you. I know God places different callings on people’s lives. For example, I would be a lousy basketball player. You can’t plant apple seeds and expect cantaloupe to sprout. I did not plant my sunflower seeds expecting roses to come up. But there’s no gene for being a millionaire! There’s no gene for being an entrepreneur. You can be whatever you want otherwise because just like Bill Gates, George W., and Oprah, you all were just sperm.
Lastly, the plant would have never grown had I never sown. REMEMBER: You only reap what you sow; you never reap what you do not sow. I had left my seeds in my room for weeks before I planted them. I wanted to plant them sooner, but I just never got around to doing it. Nothing is going to happen for you until you plant the seeds. Nothing is going to happen for you until you begin to pray. People would have thought that I had lost my mind had I told them that I was believing God for a sunflower, even though I had not even planted the seed! Don’t expect a job to come to you if you haven’t applied yet! Don’t expect a man to come for you if you sitting there looking a mess! Plant a job application! Plant some make-up on your face! If you plant enough job applications, YOU WILL GET HIRED. If you look good consistently, the person will find you eventually.