The Emperor's Seeds

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and now it was time to choose his successor.

Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different.

He called young people in the kingdom together one day.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you."

The kids were shocked!

But the emperor 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 this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!"

One boy name John was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story.

She helped him get a pot and put some soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully.

Everyday he would water 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.

John kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, and five weeks went by. Still nothing.

By then, others were talking about their plants but John didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by, still nothing in John's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.

John didn't say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all of the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection.

John told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot but his mother said he must be honest about what happened.

John felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right.

He took his empty pot to the palace.

When John arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes.

John put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kids laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey, nice try."

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people.

John just 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 the sudden, the emperor spotted John at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front.

John was terrified.

"The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!"

When John got to the front, the emperor asked his name.

"My name is John," he replied.

All kids were laughing and making fun of him.

The emperor asked everyone to quiet down.

He looked at John, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is John!"

John couldn't believe it. John 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. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. All of you, except John, 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. John 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!"

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap victory.
If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap intimacy.
If you plant patience, you will reap inner strength.
If you plant faith, you will reap miracles.

But if you plant dishonesty, you will reap distrust.
If you plant selfishness, you will reap loneliness.
If you plant pride, you will reap destruction.
If you plant envy, you will reap trouble.
If you plant laziness, you will reap stagnation.
If you plant bitterness, you will reap isolation.
If you plant greed, you will reap loss.
If you plant gossip, you will reap enemies.
If you plant worries, you will reap wrinkles.
If you plant sin, you will reap guilt.

So be careful what you plant now, it will determine what you will reap tomorrow.