Matthew 25:31-46 (MSG)
31 "When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. 32 Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, 33 putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. 35 And here's why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, 36 I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 "Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? 38 And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' 39 40 Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me-you did it to me.' 41 "Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. 42 And why? Because- I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.' 44 "Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?' 45 "He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me-you failed to do it to me.' 46 "Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."
I do not know the origin of this story. I found it in one of my files with no reference. It speaks, I think, to the fact that we need to be careful what we plant in life. The things we say and do not only change other people's lives, they also change us from the inside out.
An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young people in the Kingdom together. He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you." The kids were shocked! But the emperor 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 this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring. The one I choose will be the next emperor!"
A boy named Pal was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil. He planted the seed and carefully watered it. Every day he watched to see if it had grown. After few weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to poke through the soil. Pal kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants but Pal didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by and there was still nothing in Pal's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.
Pal didn't say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow. A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Pal told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. "Be honest about what happened," His mother told him. Pal felt sick to his stomach but he knew his mother was right.
So Pal took his empty pot to the palace. When he arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful--all shapes and sizes. Pal put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kids laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey nice try." When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Pal tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the emperor. "Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!"
All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Pal at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Pal was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!" When Pal got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. "My name is Pal," he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Pal, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Pal!"
Pal couldn't believe it. His seed produced nothing. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here 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 that would not grow. All of you, except Pal, 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. Pal 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 new emperor!"
- 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 victory.
- If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony.
- If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
- If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
- If you plant openness, you will reap intimacy.
- If you plant patience, you will reap improvements.
- If you plant faith, you will reap miracles.
Will the seeds you scatter make life worse or better? Be careful what you plant now, it will determine what you will reap tomorrow. Think About it.