About 18 years ago, a friend and I planted several ajuga plants in my front bed as ground cover around the shrubs. I anticipated the lovely purple/blue flowers that were to bloom each spring as a contrast with the greenery. The ajuga spread somewhat, but only a few plants bloomed. I was disappointed. After waiting about 10 years with little success, I pulled them up and added mulch in the area. There was no evidence that I left even a partial root of the ajuga.
How surprised I was this spring to see an ajuga plant poking through the mulch. I was even more surprised about a month later to see its stately bloom. What I assumed was absolutely dead had somehow come to life. I thought about the spiritual implications. Seeds of kindness and goodwill may not take root and bloom soon after they are planted. I also thought of the seeds of the gospel of Christ that we plant in people’s lives that may seem totally dormant for many years.
Solomon said, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again,” (Ecclesiastes 11:1). My study Bible says that this may refer to an Egyptian farmer scattering grain on his land flooded by the Nile River. The seed would disappear and seemingly be forgotten. As the land dried, some of the seed would begin to sprout and eventually the farmer would harvest grain. We never know if a small seed of kindness and love will be meaningful in someone’s life.
When my husband I were pastoring, we provided a bus that picked up children for Sunday School. Many times I would pat children on their heads as they came in the classroom. It was a simple form of touch that I thought nothing about. One day at a grocery store an elementary-age boy that I recognized from our bus ministry came up to me with his mother. He did not remember my name, but with a smile he said, “Mommy, this is the woman that pats my head each Sunday.” I had no idea that the small gesture meant anything to the child, but it did.
As we face this prolonged pandemic and deal with social discord and anger, sowing seeds of kindness is more important than ever. People are fearful and sometimes desperate. Even a small token of kindness may say volumes. A smile may diffuse anger; a kind word may bring hope. Muffins and soup left on the doorstep of a grieving family could bring great encouragement. A phone call or a card may brighten a person’s entire day. These simple actions let people know you care, that you’re interested in their well-being, and that they are significant.
Luke chapter 8 tells us that Jesus went from town to town “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God,” healing the sick and casting out evil spirits. Not everyone accepted the message. Later he likened this to planting seeds. Some of the seed would fall on good ground and bear fruit, but other seed would fall on rocks or bad soil and would either not germinate or would grow up quickly and then die.
When we share the gospel—the good news—that all of us are sinners and that Christ died on the cross to bring salvation and eternal life to everyone (John 3:16), we are planting seeds. Not everyone will accept the message. For some, it may take years for that seed to grow. Another person may need to explain the message further, or it simply may take time for the message to take root in a person’s life.
Our job as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ is to sow seeds of kindness and love as we are sharing the gospel. We do not know if that seed will germinate and grow quickly or, just like my ajuga, be dormant for years before it begins to sprout and become something lovely.