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About the Writer:
Joanne Sampl

With grown step-children, college age sons and a self-employed husband, Joanne offers her time to God and to others. Her interest in writing and communications brought her back to college as an adult and through several reinventions of her own business and ministries. With time on her hands, she writes about God and life.



A Seed of Gratefulness

By Joanne Sampl

Synopsis: A story about what you plant is what you get.

A town like many others, Sappington teetered on the verge of poverty. The small farming community crusted over with draught and depression. The people of Sappington ached in the loss of their crops and families huddled around their bare pantries for some hope of prosperity. There was none.

One day, eight year old Timmy Johnson stood barefoot in the town square, kicking the dust in the air and watching it catch in the warm summer breeze. His family’s farm was one of the hardest hit by the draught. No one heard him whisper a prayer.

“God,” he started, “I know you can hear me and see me. The preacher said you can.” He looked around to make sure no one else heard him. Timmy’s stomach rumbled with hunger pains since there was only enough food for one meal a day.

“So, God, can you answer me one little prayer? Can you fix this? The bible says if I believe in you, you’ll answer my prayers. Please, God! Thank you.” Timmy squeezed his eyes shut while he pleaded and thanked the Lord in his prayer.

The heat and lack of food brought Timmy into the shade of the general store porch. He spread his thin body out on the steps of the porch in the shade and quickly fell asleep. His small sleeping body wrestled in the heat and one of his arms fell between the planking of the porch steps.

Waking an hour later, Timmy felt a cool, round object with his hand under the porch. His eyes strained to see in the darkness what he was touching. It was an apple, a slightly overripe fruit with a softening outer skin and the pungent smell of decay. Timmy brushed the ants off the apple and picked it up.

“Thank you, God,” Timmy shouted happily, looking up to the sky. “This is just what we need.”

Timmy ran home with the apple and brought it into his house. His mother did not see what Timmy was so excited about. “If it weren’t decayed, maybe we could make it into a pie,” she said. Timmy’s father was equally unimpressed with his son’s find. “Son, it’s not worth anything.”

Timmy was sure they were wrong.

He carried his treasure out to the barn and cut it open with his pocket knife. He carefully took the seeds from the core, then took a small pot and filled it with dirt and cow manure. He crumbled the remainder of the apple in the dirt, and then buried the seeds a few inches below the top. He trusted God to make an apple tree grow. He sat with his potted seeds under the stars before he went to bed, thanking God for answering his prayer and believing He would keep on answering his prayers.

God was faithful. That night, the tiny town was refreshed by the first gentle rain fall in months. The next night, another gentle rain came while the town’s people slept. Timmy spent some time each night sitting beside his potted apple seeds, thanking God for watering the night before. He was so grateful for all God was doing.

Soon, the tiny seeds broke the surface of dirt with small, fragile green sprouts. Timmy was so thrilled to see his patience and his praise to God was working.

One night, Timmy’s father came out to him and the pot of apple seeds.

“It looks like you’ve got something growing, son,” the tired farmer said, realizing that his own fields were lifeless. “I’m glad you found those seeds. Maybe someday they’ll grow strong apple trees.”

“Maybe,” Timmy answered quickly. “I just need to thank God everyday.”

“I wish I had your faith,” his dad said sadly.

“You can, Pa. You just need to be grateful for what you have.” Timmy shared again how he found the seeds right after he’d prayed to God, and that he knew God was watching him and knew what he was praying.

“Do you thank God very much, Pa?” Timmy’s question was simple and truthful.

“No, son - not very much at all,” the father admitted.

“That can change, Pa,” Timmy shared. “Thanking God can start as small as a seed, but it can grow every day.” Then, the father and son gave God thanks for blessing them with rain and each other.

The next day, tiny green sprouts began to push through the softening soil in the farmer’s field.

A seed of gratefulness has a plentiful harvest.

Copyright © October 5, 2005 – Joanne Sampl.. All rights reserved.


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