Plant Some Eternal Seeds Today

INFLUENCE OF SMALL THINGS-
Drop a pebble in the water, just a splash and it is gone,
But there's half a hundred ripples, circling on and on and on -
Spreading, spreading, from the center, flowing on out to the sea;
And there's no way of telling, where the end is going to be.
But the little waves are flowing, and the ripples circling yet,
All the ripples flowing, flowing to a mighty wave have grown;
And you've disturbed a mighty river, just by dropping in a stone.

Drop a word, unkind or careless, in a minute it is gone,
But there's half a hundred ripples circling on, and on, and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading, from the center as they go,
And there's no way to stop them, once you've started them to flow.
Drop a word, unkind and careless, in a minute you forgot,
But the little waves are flowing, and the ripples flowing yet.
And perhaps in some sad heart, a mighty wave of tears you've stirred,
And disturbed a life that's happy, when you've dropped an unkind word.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness, just a flash and it is gone,
But there's half a hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave,
Til you wouldn't believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.
Drop a word of cheer and kindness, in a minute you forget, but the
gladness still is swelling, and the joy is circling yet.
And you've rolled a wave of comfort, whose sweet music can be heard,
Over the miles and miles of water, just by dropping one kind word.

(James F. Folley)

==================
ALL GOOD THINGS
by Sister Helen P. Mrosla

He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in
Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one
in a million. Very neat in appearance, but had that happy-to-be-alive
attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful. Mark
talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without
permission was not acceptable.

What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had
to correct him for misbehaving - "Thank you for correcting me, Sister!" I
didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed
to hearing it many times a day.

One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often,
and then I made a novice-teacher's mistake. I looked at Mark and said, "If
you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!" It wasn't ten
seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking again." I hadn't
asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the
punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it. I remember the scene
as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately
opened by drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word,
I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X
with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room. As I
glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did it!!

I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk,
removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, "Thank
you for correcting me, Sister."

At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years
flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more
handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to
my instruction in the "new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade as
he had in third.

One Friday, things just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new
concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated
with themselves and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness
before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other
students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each
name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about
each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the
class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room,
each one handed me the papers.

Charlie smiled. Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good
weekend." That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate
sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that
individual.

On Monday I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class
was smiling. "Really?" I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything
to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much." No one ever mentioned
those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class
or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished
its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.
That group of students moved on.

Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at
the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions
about the trip -the weather, my experiences in general. There was a lull in
the conversation. Mother gave Dad a sideways glance and simply says, "Dad?"

My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important.
"The Eklunds called last night," he began. "Really?" I said. "I haven't
heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is." Dad responded quietly.
"Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said. "The funeral is tomorrow, and his
parents would like it if you could attend." To this day I can still point to
the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark.

I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so
handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, Mark I would give
all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.

The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The Battle
Hymn of the Republic."

Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough
at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played
taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and
sprinkled it with holy water. I was the last one to bless the coffin.

As I stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me.
"Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare
at the coffin. "Mark talked about you a lot," he said.

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's
farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting
for me. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet
out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought
you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper
that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew
without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the
good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him. "Thank you so much
for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."

Mark's classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather
sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my
desk at home." Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding
album." "I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary." Then Vicki,
another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and
showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all
times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved our
lists."

That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his
friends who would never see him again.

=================

Words are things, and a small drop of ink
Falling like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
Lord George Noel Gordon Byron (1788-1824)

If you would reap praise, sow the seeds; Gentle words and useful deeds.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

=================

Blessed is the person who realizes that they are farmers here on earth who
are sowing eternal seeds into the soil of human hearts. What are we sowing?
Weeds? Vanity? Thoughtlessness? Or perhaps nothing--just letting the dozens
of entertainment medias rob us from truly living. Or fruits of
righteousness, the fruits of the kingdom of God which have eternal value?

Blessed are they who see that they are planting into eternity even this day.
Lord open our eyes of understanding that we might truly see how valuable our
time here on earth is. Deliver us from our fly-away mentality and give us
good seed to sow. Deliver us from our couch-potato and spectator mentality.
Set us free from focusing so much on our own needs and lusts so that we are
able to see where the good soil is and what kingdom sowing and reaping is
all about.

Give especially us Westerners, who have forgotten the ways of planting and
harvesting, the grace to patiently wait upon You to bring forth the
spiritual rains to bring the seeds to harvest. Give us a taste of the joy to
come at harvest time so that we do not grow weary. Father, deliver us from
the trance-like state the medias try to seduce us with to prevent us from
seeing that every moment of our lives here on earth has real eternal
significance. Let us see how many thousands of hours of time we are just
wasting away. Bring to us an awareness of the importance of our time--let us
see how much eternal good can come from the little deeds and words planted
into the right soil as we walk through our daily life. Wake us up, Father,
that we may be about your business instead of following the vain and empty
course of this world. In Him, GA.

==============
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