A Seed of Faith

This parable is very special to me as it came to me almost word for word one time as I was praying for a friend who was struggling deeply with faith.  Maybe you too are struggling with faith…faith to believe God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do?  Then I pray that this parable about faith will speak deep to your heart.  Enjoy, Pat

Once upon a time there was a little boy who was very smart. He loved to build houses with his Legos, ride his bike and play Monopoly. The little boy also loved green beans. In fact, green beans were his favorite food, and he would even beg his mother to let him have beans for breakfast.

One day the little boy asked his mother where green beans came from. His mother opened a drawer and pulled out a small package. Carefully she laid a small white bean in his hand. “If you plant that bean, it was grow into a plant and you will have lots of green beans to eat.” The little boy looked at the seed in his hand and the beans on his plate. They did not look the same. How could that be? How could planting one seed put lots of beans on his plate? Would the seed stretch into long green pieces? Would he be grown up before that could happen? The little boy had lots of questions, and all day he thought about the seed in his pocket.

That night when his mother tucked him in bed, she noticed the bean lying by his pillow. She asked him, “Would you like to plant the bean tomorrow in the garden? In fact, you could have your very own garden right next to mine.” It sounded like a wonderful idea, and he went to sleep with the bean clutched in his hand. But during the night the little boy dreamed about monsters. A big monster with pigtails, furry skin and long ears came into his room and hunted for his seed. The monster was hungry and wanted a bean to eat. The little boy clutched the seed tighter and tried to hide under the covers, but the monster saw his toes sticking out and began to tickle them. The little boy jumped out of bed and ran, trembling with fear, to his mother. Between sobs he told her about the monster, and then to his horror he discovered the little bean was gone. His mother smoothed his hair and held him tight. Taking his hand, she led him to his bedroom where they found the bean. The monster was nowhere to be found, but the bean was safe. Suddenly a new thought popped into his head. What if he planted the seed, and the monster found it in the garden and ate it? The little boy snuggled down into the covers, and before he knew it, his mother was calling him for breakfast.

“Today we will plant your seed,” his mother said as he poured milk on his cereal. But the little boy was afraid. He didn’t want to plant his seed, but he liked the idea of having his very own garden.

Finally he asked his daddy, “Did you have a garden when you were a little boy?”

“Oh, yes,” his daddy replied, “and it was lots of hard work. You have to pull lots of weeds.” The little boy didn’t know if he wanted to pull weeds. He wanted to ride his bike.

Finally he told his mother he wanted to wait until his next birthday to plant the bean, and he went outside to play. Later in the morning his grandmother stopped by. “Do you like to plant beans?’ he asked her.

“Oh, yes,” she said with a smile. “Canning is so much fun.” Canning? What was that? There were just too many things to know about. The mailman said he would never plant a garden. He got his beans in a can at the store.

His older sister laughed at him. “Why bother? Mommy takes care of them just fine.” At the grocery store the clerk said he knew some people planted gardens, but it was not for him. Maybe when he was retired and had plenty of time, he would think about planting a garden. The barber said he didn’t believe in planting seeds. If God wanted us to grow beans, He would plant them.

The next day at Sunday School he asked his teacher, “Do you plant beans in a garden?”

“Oh, yes. I plant six long rows, and we can lots of beans. Beans are our favorite vegetable. We make it a family project,” she said with a smile. “Are you going to plant a garden?”

The little boy felt the bean in his pocket and said, “Someday when I am bigger. There are just too many things I don’t understand. I just can’t see how a little white bean can become a green bean on my plate.”

His teacher smiled and petted him on the head. “Sonny,” she said, “You just have to have faith.” Faith. What was faith? Where could he get faith? He saw his daddy put cow manure on the garden. Was that faith? His teacher told the story of Abraham leaving home and going on a long trip. She said that was faith. Would he have to leave home? Where would he go? He didn’t want to leave his mommy and daddy and toys. Faith sounded way too scary.

The next day the mailman brought a brand new catalog. The little boy’s mommy was so excited; she called it a seed catalog. All day she looked at the pictures and talked about wanting to plant a garden. She showed the little boy pictures of green beans. “That is what your seed will become,” she said as she pointed to a picture of a plant. It was beautiful and loaded with green beans. And then she said, “There are many different kinds of seeds. Some are white, some are brown, some red and even a striped seed called rattlesnake beans.” Rattlesnakes! Could his bean become a snake? That was way too cool and scary all at the same time. There was no way he wanted a plate full of snakes to eat. The little boy’s mommy assured him there would be no snakes. Each bean had a different purpose. She used one kind to make soup, another to make baked beans and another to can for green beans on his plate. They were all good to eat.

The little boy sat under a tree and thought about his beloved bean. It was so complicated. He just wanted a green bean. Did his mommy really know about beans? Why did she have to work so hard when she planted a garden? How did she learn so much? How did she know that the little bean in his pocket would become a green bean and not corn? Why did she have to plant a garden every year? What if a deer or monster ate his beans? What if his bean didn’t grow? What if his bean didn’t look like the picture in the catalog? What if his sister made fun of him for planting a bean? Finally the little boy decided it was too complicated to plant green beans. He wanted to just ride his bike and eat green beans for supper.

The little boy was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t see his mother standing beside him. “Are you asleep?” she asked.

“No, Mommy. I have been thinking about my bean. You can have it back.”

“I am going to the garden to work and I came to get you so that we could plant your bean. I will help you.” The little boy slowly got to his feet. How could he tell his mommy he did not want to plant the seed? Would she be mad at him?

The afternoon flew by as the little boy had so much fun. He took off his shoes and felt the warm dirt squish between his toes. His heard his daddy whistling as he took the hand plow and pushed little rows across the garden. His mommy showed him how to lay the seeds in the row and space them just right before covering them with dirt. Finally the garden was planted. And then his mother said, “Now, let’s plant your little garden.” The little boy forgot his questions and his fears. Quickly he pulled the seed from his pocket and stuck it into the soft dirt. He didn’t know where his parents got faith, but Mommy said he would have beans in a few weeks, and that was all that mattered. He had planted his seed.

January 5, 2010

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