A colleague of mine used to embellish well known gospel stories in the most wonderful way. I particularly enjoyed his version of the parable of the sower, which he used in our children’s service, acting it out by carrying the children around in a laundry basket and ‘planting’ them on various appropriately coloured mats for the path, the stony ground, the weeds and the good soil.
Unable to bear the idea that the parable gave three ways to fail and only one to succeed, he continued the story after the gospel left off: “And the birds that had gobbled up the seed from the path flew away to another field a long way away, and there they pooed out the seed and it fell into the good soil there and grew and grew and produced a wonderful crop!”
We’ve all seen or at least heard of the magnificent tomato plants that grow at sewage plants – tomato seeds, like many seeds, are not digested, and can happily pass all the way through a person (or a bird) and grow wherever they eventually reach fertile soil.
In the same way as the farmer who scattered the seed on the path may never see the plants that grew from it, so also we may sow our kindnesses, our ideas, our encouragement, and not see the fruit of it, because that fruit grows and ripens far away. As you plant your seeds, reflect on all those who invested in you and perhaps never got a chance to see the fruit of their time, energy and commitment to you, but who gave it anyway. Give thanks for them.