The Businessman and the Seed

Aug 26, 2016

A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over his business. He called together a meeting of all to be considered. This included current senior directors, as well as younger, newer executives—even family members who made it clear they felt entitled to taking over the business.
He spoke to the assembled group: “The time is soon coming when I will need to step down and choose the next leader of this company, and I have decided to choose one of you.” The older executives, as well as some family members, seemed offended they even had to go through some process for consideration—and the younger executives were shocked to be considered at all.
The businessman continued, “I am going to give each of you a SEED today—one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, care for it, and bring it back here one year from today. I will then judge from what you bring back who should take over the company.”
One young executive, Jim, took his seed home and excitedly told his wife what happened. He couldn’t wait to start taking care of the seed. His wife was excited to help as well. They got a pot, soil and compost and planted the seed. They carefully watered and cared for it daily, almost beside themselves with anticipation, waiting for the seed to sprout.
After a few weeks, others in the company started talking about their seeds growing, but nothing came of Jim’s seed. More weeks went by, and others started bragging at how well their plants were doing—while still nothing came from Jim’s seed. Though discouraged, Jim and his wife didn’t give up. They continued to water and fertilize the seed, and kept watching for any sign it would start to grow.
After six months, while others boasted of now large, beautiful, colorful plants, Jim still had nothing to show for his efforts.
Finally, a year went by and it was time for everyone to meet with the leader of the company again. Jim didn’t even want to go. He was sure he’d killed his seed. But his wife encouraged him, saying he did the best he could, and that he should simply show up with the empty pot, and be honest about what happened. He knew she was right, and, with much hesitation, did attend the meeting.
He regretted the decision once he stepped into the board room and saw all the beautiful, tall, vibrant plants everyone else brought. But it was too late to back out now. Everyone had seen him—and his empty pot. Some laughed, while others felt sorry for him.
Jim tried to stay unnoticed in the back as the businessman stepped into the room. “My, what a wide assortment of stunning, beautiful plants, trees and flowers you’ve all brought,” he stated. “Today,” he continued, “one of you will be appointed to lead this company.”
Noticing Jim and his empty pot toward the back, the businessman asked him to sept forward.
Jim was terrified, sure the businessman would make an example of him—maybe even fire him for his failure to grow anything from his seed.
The businessman then said to the group, “Friends, behold your new chief executive officer, Jim.”
Jim couldn’t believe it—and others started grumbling immediately! How could Jim be named the new CEO after failing his assignment so miserably?
The businessman continued, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room 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—they were dead. It was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me some, frankly, beautiful trees and plants and flowers—but that’s not what I asked for. I only asked that you take the seed I gave you, water it and care for it, and return with it a year later. Jim is the only one who brought back what I asked for—the seed. And therefore Jim is your new Chief Executive Officer.”
What a beautiful story, and it makes me think of the words of Jesus in John, chapter 10, where he tells the parable of the shepherd and his sheep. We read in verses 1 and 2: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.”
In our story, the door was honesty—honesty was the way to enter into the position to lead the company. But everyone except Jim chose to “climb up some other way”—in their dishonesty, they all looked for other means to obtain that which they desired. But Jim was faithful and honest and obedient—and the master of the company—the CEO—saw that, and rewarded Jim’s obedience by choosing him to lead and shepherd his company.
A few verses later, in John 10:8-9, Jesus says, “I am the door. by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” And then in verse 11 he says, “I am the good shepherd.”
Let’s seek to listen to, and be faithful and obedient to, the voice of the Good Shepherd.

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