The Parable of the Seed on a Shelf

Once upon a time, there was a seed that wanted to grow into a great champion pumpkin. But that little flat, one third of an inch, white pumpkin seed didn’t want any help in doing so. Sealed in his package of seeds and sitting on a shelf in the local hardware store, he declared to the others, “I’m going to grow into a great pumpkin one day. And I’m going to be a champion pumpkin all by myself.”

The other seeds in the bag laughed, “All by yourself?”

“That’s right, all by myself!” he proudly proclaimed.

Well, as good fortune would have it, a nice lady bought the package of pumpkin seeds and took them home. She didn’t have a big plot of ground, so she only planted some of the seeds. The seed that made “the great pumpkin” declaration was not one of the chosen seeds and remained in the bag, on a shelf, in the garage. 

“That’s OK. I don’t need anything else, I am going to grow into a great pumpkin right here!” the seed announced to no one in particular.

The lady tilled the ground and added cow manure to it. Cow manure is an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are all nutrients necessary for plants to grow and thrive. Then she planted the seeds in the rich dark soil. She looked up and smiled as the sun was beaming down on her and her planted seeds. She knew sunny warm days were important for seeds to grow. She made sure she watered the seeds every day without fail. Watering seeds is important too. She used fertilizer on the sprouting plant from time to time. Not too much. Not too little. When birds came to eat the buried seeds or when critters from the woods came to eat the growing vine and subsequent little blooms then pumpkins, she’d shoo them away with a holler and wave. If weeds tried to invade the plants’ space, she’d quickly pull those pesky intruders so they wouldn’t gobble up the nutrients in the soil.

The pumpkins grew and grew and grew. They grew larger than anyone had ever seen in that part of the country. All the nice lady’s friends urged her to take the pumpkins to the county fair. She couldn’t take them all, so she picked out two large, orange beauties and had some strong friends load them into a truck. 

At the fair, the judges inspected and smiled at both big, fat pumpkins. They couldn’t decide which was better, so both pumpkins won first place. Blue ribbons and much fanfare followed. Everyone wanted to know how to grow such large champion pumpkins.

Meanwhile, back in the garage and on the shelf, was the flat, one third of an inch, white pumpkin seed. It was still just a seed. But it had learned an important lesson: A seed can’t become a champion on its own. It needs good soil, lots of water, sunshine, fertilizer, someone to shoo the varmints and pull the weeds and some friends to help along the way. 

A seed on a shelf just cannot grow by itself. To be a champion, you need help.

Likewise, a person only sitting in a pew cannot grow either. To be a champion in our faith and in life, we really do need each other.

The end.