Monday, June 11, 2007

"The Seed"

The following is a modern day parable that an Anon posted recently. It speaks to us about virtue and vice, especially in the corporate world (although the real hero might be the spouse of the new CEO):

"The Seed"

A successful Christian business man was growing old and knew it was timeto choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. " The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today -one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO"

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by--still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He justkept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick at his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful--in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his youngexecutives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants,trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!" All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive! His name is Jim!"

Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said? Then the CEO said, "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 possiblefor them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim 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 Chief Executive!"


At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honesty is a hard choice sometimes. Here, there is a viewable prize (and a pretty big thing) at the end of the story, but for many of us, we don't always recognize the rewards for our honesty. Rewards are there for speaking the truth- I see it in the fact that others trust me, respect me and value my friendship. I see it in knowing my children believe what I tell them is truth- an invaluable thing for any parent. I feel it in my sense of self-respect. My word is a big deal to me, for I believe how we honor our word, in large part, defines who we are.

Whever I haven't told the truth, there were negative consequences for me. I can't think of a time when I actually felt like I "got away" with anything, for no matter what- I've always had myself to face.

Honesty is one of the qualities I most value in others. I will take one friend who is willing to be honest with me (even if I don't want to hear it or agree) than ten friends who tell me what I want to hear. In fact, when someone is willing to be honest with me, especially when it was difficult for them to do so, I feel the most blessed to have that person in my life. Sometimes it just may require some time and distance to acknowledge that appreciation.

I like this story- definately like when one of the "good" guys wins out...very cool.

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic-
I had a funny thought yesterday about our seminarian, Jim. He has been helping out with all kinds of things lately. Each time I've seen him, his disposition has been really friendly. I wonder, though, as he's setting up the bases for the mother-son softball game, or getting the charcoal ready for a cookout, or helping FG with the kids' flag football- what is he really thinking? Especially being around FG (the energizer bunny), does he think, "Oh man- what did I get myself into?" If no one thought to say it, please pass along that his efforts were well appreciated, and we hope his first week here was enjoyable. I also enjoyed his discussion of the readings at daily Mass- the day I heard him, he did a great job of making me think about one specific point as I left the church, and aside from receiving Jesus, you can't ask for more than that!

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

That is certainly one way to separate the wheat from the chaff. Interesting story. Thanks.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger fran said...

...and the moral is:
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

Also, my nine-year old just told me that they read this story in first or second grade! It is about a Chinese emperor who says his successor will be the child who grows the most beautiful flowers from seeds given to them by the emperor.

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should anyone ever be refused communion?

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this later today- I wonder, would the story have meant less if he didn't get to be CEO? Often, in real life, others who may be dishonest might seem to "win" out, at least in the short term. We, as children of God, have to keep our eye on the ultimate prize- salvation. For only God knows and can judge all our actions and inactions. Our earthly winnings may not be a true barometer of where we are spiritually. Sometimes it's hard to remember that when we are living the way we think is right, but others (who look to be living out of discord with God's teachings) seem to be receiving the "short term" rewards.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger fran said...

Anon 8:24-
Yes, sometimes life does not seem fair, when dishonest deeds are rewarded. The key words, as you highlighted in your reflection, are "short term." Had the parable ended with "Jim" not being selected as CEO, he would appear to have been the one who lost, - at least in the short term. We know though, that because of his honesty, he is still the victor as he is storing up heavenly treasure. He has already entered the kingdom of heaven either way.

Matthew 20:16-
"Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."


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