This is an anonymous story Tim Meline introduced me to years ago in a Real Estate Ethics class (mandatory every three years--"forced fellowship").
"An emperor was growing old and knew it was time to choose His successor. He called the young people in the kingdom together and said, "It is time for me to step down and to choose the next emperor."
"I am giving each one of you a seed today. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge what you bring, and choose who will be the next emperor!"
Ling received a seed like the others. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and carefully watered it. Every day he watered it and watched to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing grew. Three , four, five weeks went by, but nothing sprouted.
By now, others were talking about their plants. Ling didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by; still nothing grew in Ling's pot. He believed he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. He just kept hoping for his seed to grow.
After a year all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for his inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot, but his Mother said he must be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his Mother was right.
When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the others laughed at him.
A few felt sorry for him and said, "Hey, nice try." When the emperor arrived, he greeted the young people and then surveyed the room. Ling 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 Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!"
When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. "My name is Ling," he replied. The emperor looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!" Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't even grow his seed. 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. I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees, plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling 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!"
A few years ago, I typed this up or copied and pasted it and sent it to a leader as a gift: a prophecy. We'd never met, but I had this picture as I revisited this story: I saw him, a leader in the seed industry and I felt like he had many "Lings" in his life--and the Holy Spirit put SeedLings together and I saw a few were called to be emperors of sorts in the days ahead but would need his influence and that he actually was a Ling himself. I shared it with another former COO I was acquainted with as a springboard for something else I felt like the Lord was inviting him to in another word some months later. And as I said, Tim Meline shared it with me.
The enemy loves to try to convince us to feel bad about recycling words or stories in the prophetic: but it is a trick. Think about the Beatitudes or the Proverbs or the life of Job or really any section of scripture any number of people have found to be impactful or profound. Or a song. Or a daily devo. Or a movie. Or a poem. Same concept: if He lays it into your heart for someone, share it. It's perfectly acceptable to share words you've been led to share before. Think of them as seeds--same kind. Pick a song or a story or a Psalm you like and ask Him who you can share it with, if it applies and send it to them preferably snail mail or fed ex: that's as simple as prophecy gets--you purposefully encourage someone. To encourage means to give courage. Righteous are as bold as a lion!
I sent a text with a song in it last week to one of my faves and said I don't know who you're seeing in the nine o'clock hour this AM, but they need to hear it too.
I got this back: "Who do u know I'm seeing at 9?"
To which, I responded: "Just a sense when I sent it--nobody I know just someone who needs to hear this song"
I didn't know for sure they were seeing anyone but I've practiced sending it anyway.
They replied, "Love it! If u only knew who I'm seeing at 9." They sent this to me a couple days later, "We haven't had a chance to connect yet but Jen's song for my 9AM client was right on target. I'd forgotten but several months earlier I'd sent her the same song!" I needed this song, too! Thanks Jenn and Bethel.
Parables are illustrative stories and the word itself means "to throw down beside".
Think of Ling's story as we thrown it down next to Jesus' parable of the soils and ask: which soil am I, right now, Lord?
Matthew 13 (thanks to our digi-pals over at Biblegateway.com for the copy and paste)
That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea.2 And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.
3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.7 Others fell [b]among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears, [c]let him hear.”
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 [d]Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 [e]In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘[f]You will keep on hearing, [g]but will not understand;
[h]You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The Sower Explained
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the [i]word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the [j]word, immediately he [k]falls away. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the [l]world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.23 And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”
When King David writes in Psalm 51, "..a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise", the word contrite means smashed to powder like talcum powder.
I wonder if our trials (or even some of our seedier moments ;) ) aren't really just heart-soil work in the context of God preparing us to receive a good word from Him--after our hearts are prepared.
I Peter 5:10 "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."
Who are your seed lings? Let them know you believe in them and specifically why.