Dale’s Rules of Life : How Many Apples Are In a Seed?

I have these rules for life. This happens to be the sixteenth in the list. It also happens to be one gleaned from a sign. Many years ago my family and I were in Silver Dollar City. An amusement park with a country craftsman flair near Branson Missouri. Beside the entrance to one of the roller coasters was a hand-painted sign shop. On display was a simple wooden sign with the words – “How many apples are in a seed? Only God knows.” That sign was like a seed for me.

Seeds are amazing packages of life and possibility. They will sit dormant for years until the conditions are right for germination and growth. And, while we can predict how many seeds are in an apple no one can say or calculate how many apples will come from a seed. No one except God. Not only is it difficult to estimate how many apples a particular tree will produce over its lifetime but consider the exponential generations of seeds that may follow.

Perhaps it is obvious that this rule applies to more than just apples and extends beyond gardening, farming, and husbandry. We plant seeds every day into our heart and the hearts of others. Seeds of ideas, direction, feelings, judgment, desires, hopes, truth, deception, and others. And in time a harvest arrives from those seeds.

This rule reminds me to plant intentionally. To plant only the good and desirable seeds into my heart and the hearts of others. There are also times when we all feel the lack of something such as love, friendship, and connection. This rule reminds me to intentionally plant those seeds when there seems to be a famine in my life.

Wisdom would seem to say we should only plant in good soil. Jesus, however, gave us a different picture in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-8). From a farming or gardening perspective, the sower in the story is wasteful of the precious seed. Throwing them so some land on the road, others in thin rocky soil, others in a thistle patch, and only some in good soil. The seeds we sow in life will land on hard hearts, on shallow hearts, on busy hearts, and on ready hearts. The point of Jesus’ parable is that the seed is good and the outcome is out of our hands but we should examine the soil condition of our heart.

This rule also impacts this little writing and publishing ministry called Lambchow. Our motto is that only God knows how many apples are in a seed. Only God knows the hearts that each article will touch and encourage to walk with Jesus. (Visit our About Page to read more about Lambchow >> About Lambchow). Paul observed of his own ministry, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6–7, NASB95)  Some are called to harvest, some to water, some to till the ground, some to encourage growth, some to plant seeds. None are more important or more desirable because it is God that causes growth. Lambchow is a seed planting ministry sowing God’s Good News into unknown fields around the world.

So, let’s intentionally plant good seeds in all the lives we encounter. Good seeds of love, compassion, the Good News of Jesus, acceptance, grace, mercy, hope, care, patience, kindness, forgiveness, and many others. In time, when the conditions are right, those seeds will sprout and grow.  How many apples are in a seed? Only God knows. How many hearts will you touch through one act of love? Only God knows.

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Dale Heinold

Dale lives in central Illinois with Betty, his wife of nearly 40 years. He has a theology degree from Oral Roberts University. Dale works full time as an IT director for a local school district. He sees his writing as a ministry and hopes that you were blessed, challenged, and inspired by this article and lambchow.com.
Dale Heinold
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