There is something remarkable about a seed.
Each time I look at my garden, I marvel at the yellow squash plants. They are vibrant and green with leaves as big as dinner plates, bright yellow blossoms and delicious squash. Yet each plant started out as a little seed. Yes, God brings about something miraculous out of these tiny seeds.
I also look at my tomato plants. I did not start them out from seeds, but I know that someone did not so very long ago.
I also look at the tree that protects my garden from the western sun. This tree might have been planted as a seedling more than 50 years ago, but that seedling also started out as a seed.
Seeds are amazing. Usually dull in color and void of patterns, seeds seem to be dry and lifeless. Yet inside each one is a plant waiting to grow. The right conditions of water, light and heat cause them to sprout. And with water, light, heat and nutrients, the sprout will grow into a beautiful plant.
Besides yellow squash and tomatoes, the only other thing I planted this year was a very few snow peas. Actually I planted 20 peas, but only six come up. Still that's not bad when you consider that I have used the same package of pea seeds for three years.
I suppose there are many ways to consider a plant useful. Some look for beautiful colors. Others hope for a pleasant fragrance. We sometimes also consider consistency in size or color a plus. And, of course, we consider plants that we can eat to be very useful.
It's not hard to decipher what plants consider to be useful. If drought persists, many plants will pour all their energy into making seeds. They will sacrifice the quantity of seeds they might have produced if they had waited for rains to come later in the season for the quality of at least a few seeds so that life might continue.
The Bible has many references to seeds. Genesis 1:11 mentions plants bearing seeds. Jesus speaks often about seeds, from faith the size of a mustard seed to a sower planting seeds in various kinds of soil.
Perhaps the most powerful quote about a seed is in John 12:24 where Jesus says "Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
Jesus was talking about his death, but there is truth that remains for us today. If we only care about ourselves, we remain just a single grain. But if we die to our own selfish desires and share what we have with others, we too can bear much fruit.
There are many ways to share what we have with others. Churches, civic groups and others give opportunities to plant seeds of faith and hope in children, youth and needy adults. In Ellis County, we have the Ministerial Alliance and First Call for Help, two groups that work very hard to help others share out of their bounty.
In this current time, when many are in a financial drought, it is particularly important to contribute to the needs of others.
Yes, there is something remarkable about a seed.
Steve Johnson is director of the Protestant Campus Center, Hays.