Sunday, March 04, 2007

Would You Pass Your Seed Test?

My good friend, Adetoun Mustapha, sent me this missile from the petroleum city, Port-Harcourt, South-South, Nigeria. I believe that everybody in life would sit for his or her seed exams. It is a Ghanaian fable, but apt for anyone who would learn and succeed in the school of destiny.


An aging king woke up one day to the realization that should he drop dead, there would be no male in the royal family to take his place. He was the last male in the royal family in a culture where only a male could succeed to the throne - and he was aging.

He decided that if he could not give birth to a male, he would adopt a son who then could take his place, but he insisted that such an adopted son must be extraordinary in every sense of the word. So he launched a competition in his kingdom, open to all boys, no matter what their background.

Ten boys made it to the every top. There was little to separate these boys in terms of intelligence and physical attributes and capabilities. The king said to them, "I have one
last test and whoever comes top will become my adopted son and heir to my throne."

Then he said, "This kingdom depends solely on agriculture. So the king must know how to cultivate plants. So here is a seed of corn for each of you. Take it home and plant and nurture it for three weeks. At the end of three weeks, we shall see who has done the best job of cultivating the seed. That person will be my heir-apparent. "

The boys took their seeds and hurried home. They each got a flower pot and planted the seed as soon as they got home. There was much excitement in the kingdom as the people waited with bated breath to see who was destined to be their next king.

In one home, the boy and his parents were almost heartbroken when after days of intense care, the seed failed to sprout. He did not know what had gone wrong with his. He had selected the soil carefully, he had applied the right quantity and type of fertilizer, he had been very dutiful in watering it at the right intervals, he had even prayed over it day and night and yet his seed had turned out to be unproductive.

Some of his friends advised him to go and buy a seed from the market and plant that. "After all," they said, "how can anyone tell one seed of corn from another?" But his parents who had always taught him the value of integrity reminded him that, if the king wanted them to plant any corn, he would have asked them to go for their own seed. "If you take anything different from what the king gave you, that would be dishonesty. Maybe we are not destined for the throne. If so, let it be but don't be found to have deceived the king," they told him.

The D-Day came, and the boys returned to the palace each of them proudly exhibiting a very fine corn seedling. It was obvious that the other nine boys had had great success with their seeds. The king began making his way down the line of eager boys and asked each of them, "Is this what came out of the seed I gave you?" And each boy responded, "Yes, your majesty." And the king would nod and move down the line. The king finally got to the last boy in the line-up. The boy was shaking with fear. He knew that the king was going to have him thrown into prison for wasting his seed.

"What did you do with the seed I gave you?" the king asked.

"I planted it and cared for it diligently, your majesty, but alas it failed to sprout." the boy said tearfully, as the crowd booed him.

But the king raised his hands and signaled for silence. Then he said, "My people, behold your next king." The people were confused. "Why that one?" many asked. "How can he be the right choice?" The king took his place on his throne with the boy by his side and said, "I gave these boys boiled seeds. This test was not for cultivating corn. It was the test of character; a test of integrity. It was the ultimate test. If a king must have one quality, it must be that he should be above above dishonesty. Only this boy passed the test. A boiled seed cannot sprout."

We live in a society that has become obsessed with success and many show success at any cost. We say the end justifies the means. It is the tragedy of life. You see, failure often is an invitation to God to show that he is all-powerful and does not need help to make us great or to bless us.

You know, sometimes God looks for people who will trust him completely no matter what so he could show the world that it is not by might or by power but by his spirit. God sometimes ordains failure.

But many seek to circumvent divinely ordained failure by resorting to dubious means. When a civil servant builds a big house and sends his five children to expensive schools, when he does not have a second source of income, is that not a case of a boiled seed sprouting?

When a minister of state is able to sustain a lavish mistress and at the same time put up houses from his income as minister, is that not a case of a boiled seed coming to life? We should stop cheering rogues in Ghana .

I believe that we have all been given lives to lead according to God's plan and if we are living faithfully, we should all have different results. For instance, I believe that not all marriages are meant to have children. I believe that some women would stand before God with their children
and God would say, "That's strange. I did not give you and your husband
children so how did you get these?"

I believe that not every student should make it to the university. So, many would stand before God with their certificates and God would say, "Now that is strange. How did you get to the
university when I closed the door to the university to you?"

I believe that not all people are supposed to marry. But there are those who would throw away their scruples just to get a spouse. Now before God's judgment throne, they would hear, "Now that is strange. You were to remain single to honor my name. So how did you get a spouse when I did not give you one?"

The bible says the race is not for the swift and the battle is not for the strong. So how come, that in Ghana , the swift wins the race and the strong the battle? It is because we are refusing to remain faithful to God and refusing to allow God to be God in all things and in our affairs.

Boiled seed does not sprout. Next time you see a successful person, find out what kind of seed he was given and ask him, "how come your boiled seed has sprouted?"

Thanks once again Toun, for this refreshing lessons. Keep up the winning spirit. Love you, sis.

Follow Not The Flunked Crowd

I am publishing Toun Mustapha's motivational advise which she sent me recently as a tonic for our week.

"I Made A 41"

Perhaps the only test score that I remember is the 41. I was in high school. The class was taught by one of the two teachers that impacted me most, Mr. Bales. The other teacher was Mrs. Drew from the seventh grade. It's amazing how I can remember from over 30 years ago my two most impacting teachers.

The eighth grade. It was a time when I, like most, didn't know what I was to be in life. The drama of that time of youth was simply get through school and make the long walk home.

There are some things that will still be like the eighth grade when you get to be eighty. The test was the final for the class. I remember anxiously waiting as Mr. Bales passed out test after test. It was a rather difficult test. I didn't know how well I had done but I knew there were things on it that I didn't know.

The air whooshed around the pages as it made a gentle sound plopping down. It was a rhythm as each student received their test - plop, plop, plop.

I heard groan after groan that accompanied the plops. I could tell by the groans that the grades weren't looking good. Mr. Bales dropped the stapled pages on my desk. There in big red numbers, circled to draw attention, was my grade- 41


I moved my paper where it wasn't in plain view, a 41 is not something that you wanted your classmates to see. After the final plop, Mr. Bales stood behind the worn desk that had stood guard over countless students before me. He addressed the none too jubilant class. "The grades were not very good, none of you passed, so I will have to consider grading on a scale," Mr. Bales announced.

"The highest grade in the class was a 41, so all of you flunked," were the final words that I remember. A 41. That's me!

Suddenly my dismal looking final didn't look quite so bad. There were at least 30 students in the class. I had the highest grade. I felt a whole lot better. I walked home that day with the low but high grade safely tucked away in my book satchel. My mother knew that I had a big test that day and asked me as soon as I got home, "how did you do on your test."

"I made a 41," I said.

My mother's expression changed. A frown now stood where a smile was a few seconds earlier. I knew that I had to explain and explain fast. "But mother, I had the highest grade in the class," I proudly stated.

I knew that statement would change things. I had the highest grade in the class, that made a difference. My mother said, "You flunked."

"But I had the highest grade in the class!" I replied.

"I don't care what everyone else had, you flunked. It doesn't matter if everyone else flunked too, what matters is what you do," my mother firmly answered.

For years, I thought that was a harsh judgment. My mother was always that way. It didn't matter what the other kids did, it only mattered what I did and that I did it excellently.

We often don't understand the wisdom of good parents until we ourselves stand in the parenting shoes. My mother's philosophy has carried me throughout life. Don't worry about what the crowd does.

The crowd often goes the wrong way.

If you follow the crowd, you will go to the same destination as the crowd. The path of the crowd is wide and it is crowded. The path to pass the tests of life is narrow and there are very few people on it.

The path up the mountain is narrow; it is not crowded.

The path to health is narrow; it is not crowded.

The path to harmony, peace and happiness with your spouse is narrow; it is not crowded.

The path to peace with yourself and the world is narrow; it is not crowded.

I made a 41 and was proud of it, but it would not have gotten me through the real tests.

The majority of spouses are not faithful, it's the crowd, and even though you may be the smoothest deceiver of the group, you are on the road to failure; it's not a passing grade.

The crowd eats fattening unhealthy fast food. That food sends you to an early appointment with the doctor and the funeral director. It's the food of the crowd.

The crowd spends no special time in prayer and meditation each day. That leads to an unhealthy spirit. It's the way of the crowd.

Thirty years after my mother said that she didn't care if I was the best failure in the class, I understand why.

"Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

That's a quote that my mother lives by.

We often take comfort in the crowd; the only problem is that the crowd is not comfortable.

PASS the class!

MountainWings A MountainWings Moment
#1309 Wings Over The Mountains of Life