Seed

For the last seven years, I’ve been working with an exceptional choir from a school in Atlanta. Each year, their teacher brings her students to Nashville to tour a local university and to have me work with them.  One by one they sing, and I offer some coaching to help them get to the next level of their ability.

Having worked with the same group for a number of years, I’ve seen freshmen grow to be seniors.  I’ve seen some with the beginnings of greatness put in the work to become excellent. I’ve seen others who sing purely for the love of it develop discipline that will pay dividends for the rest of their lives.  So many of these students have stretched themselves to make the most of what they’ve been given, and in the process, their potential has increased exponentially. It’s beautiful and inspiring to watch, and it’s an honor to be a small part of it.

Do I think I deserve anything more than a grain of credit?  Absolutely not.  I see these kids once a year.  I plant a seed.  Their teacher waters it, and they tend it through discipline and practice.  Together, they do the hard work.

But how might it be different if I never planted the seed that I’m specifically gifted to plant?

Who can know for sure – but over the course of years, I’m starting to see my fingerprints on the methods of this teacher and in the lives of her students.  What a privilege!  To help someone – to shape their ability – maybe even their future through a very small effort on my part.  It costs me so little – just a simple seed of my time and experience.  But once life waters it, what might it eventually grow to be?

You’re on the road up ahead of someone.  You’re blazing a trail for others to follow after – whether you know and acknowledge that or not.  You have wisdom and experience that someone easily within your reach could learn and benefit from.  You’re an expert at something.

Yes, you are.

– Maybe you’re a great cook who could teach a single mother some fast, easy meals.
– Or you’ve grown a business and could help someone who’s just starting up.
– Maybe you’re crazy organized, and could teach someone to better manage their household.
– Or your marriage has seen hard times, and sharing your story could help a young couple avoid what you’ve experienced.
– Maybe you’ve found hope after tragedy or loss and you could offer comfort few others would be capable of giving.

You know something we don’t know.

Sharing it would make someone’s road ahead much easier… It might even shape their future in ways neither of you could yet imagine.  What else are you here for, if not to share it? What is life about if it’s not about that?

Most of us would surely help in any way we could if someone were simply to ask…  But that’s the problem.  That small, seemingly innocent statement holds almost all of the reasons why everybody’s living life alone, trying to make it on their own, carving out their own road as if what they’re trying to do has never been done before.

Why in the world are we waiting for someone to come ask us for help?  If we have something to share, why are we waiting to be invited or begged to share it?  What are we so busy doing that this becomes such a low priority for most of us?

Can you imagine what it would do for someone who is on your road but steps behind you, were you to call them up and ask them to coffee or lunch?  Would it blow their mind for you to reach out and make yourself available?  What if you point out the potential you see in them? What if you invest some time answering their questions – and help them identify the potential pitfalls you see?  

What seed might you plant in them?

You guys, this is so important.  We’ve got to reach beyond our personal circumstances, and get this right.  So I’m not writing you today to ambiguously encourage you to help someone.  I’m writing to tell you to snap out of your regular routine, look around you, and find someone who needs to know what you’ve already learned.  Then, go share it with them… THIS WEEK.

What if everyone reading this post made that small effort, and encouraged at least one person to do the same?

Coffee, lunch, a phone call… It’s small in the scheme of things. 

But it will plant a seed.

Life will water it.

They will tend it.

And who knows what will grow in time?

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, and if it resonates with you, please share this post. It may encourage someone in your life to invest in someone else.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Kim Cunningham

    I’m really thankful for all those past, and present who have mentored me with their experience.

    I feel like I have so much going on in my life with personal development, but one thing that has struck me lately is that God doesn’t waste any of our experiences. Leaving Thailand, as I mentioned before, was a huge blow to me. I invested so much time and effort to that calling. Leaving felt like a waste.

    Recently, I was contacted by a county school system to be an interpreter/translator for the county for Thai students. My mission is to help test incoming Thai children for placement. Getting this very part time job is a way in which I see God redeeming the time I sent learning a second language. Even though I am here, I can still impact Thai people by helping in some small assimilation projects. I really felt that God is showing me that He wastes nothing He calls…even in redirection.

  2. Noel McKelvey

    Wow, thanks Chance.

    That is right where I’m living right now. Long story, of reinvention, Andrea Eby our mutual friend, knows, but I just wanted to say thank you.

    Resonated, empowered, encouraged.

    BE BLESSED
    Noel

    1. Chance

      “Long story, of reinvention”… Love those words, Noel. Beautiful to read.

      Thank YOU for reading! Just words on a page until you read them. Very encouraging to me that it resonates with you and helps in any way. Fuel for my fire.

  3. Kristin

    I just felt like I should let you know that today was AMAZING!! We planted a ton of seeds and I know that the kids took something away from it! A truly blessed day!

    1. Chance

      WOO HOOOOO !!!!!!! Day made, and it’s only 9:00. :) So happy. If you have a specific little moment you think you’ll remember about it weeks from now, I’d love to know. GOOD FOR YOU and the work you’re doing!!

      1. Kristin

        Actually there isn’t one moment, but several that I won’t forget.

        1. The students actually staying engaged throughout the two hour workshop and their caseworkers commenting on how shocked they were by that because apparently that never happens.

        2. Hearing each student share what they would take away from the discussion and immediately implement into their life to prepare for future interviews.

        3. Having a student work up the courage to give me her business care and actually ask for a chance. That made me proud.

        4. Having my amazing friends come out to help me conduct this workshop because they love and support me ask the case workers how they can become more involved and continue to help these kids and others. That REALLY made my HEART SMILE!

        Overall it was an extremely PHENOMENAL experience! I’ve already been asked to come back and I can’t wait!

        I knew that it would be an awesome experience when I read your post yesterday morning though. It really was the confirmation from God that I had been seeking to show me that I was moving in the right direction. THANK YOU CHANCE!

        Keep writing and sharing your insight sir…you may never know just how much of an impact it’s having, though you can be certain that your impact has made its way to Marietta, GA!

        1. Chance

          This made me happy. Thanks for your encouragement – and HUGE thanks for planting a seed in those students! Who knows what will grow in time?

  4. michele moyer

    Your posts always warm my heart and the kind of nourishment you speak of is serious business!! I think it just may be everyone’s greatest asset!!

    I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for the mentors in my life. Without them I’d prolly still be off somewhere mistaking deviance for independence and recklessness for bravery. And because of their honest and sincere appreciation I still cherish their words long after they have forgotten. Thru their hindsight many of them have given me some of my best heritage and I now have that same ability.

    When I first started working with children I was afraid I would be incapable… many of them face a harsh world of reality and I worried about what would happen if my giving suddenly ran out…so thank you for helping me recognize that this type of seed planting and nourishment…this giving … will keep replenishing itself when we share something with someone who doesn’t know and I will continue to remember that phrase.

    P.S. this could be what inspired Dickens to write his immortal novels – just sayin :) Wishing you a great week!!!

    1. Chance

      YES – beautiful.

      …this type of seed planting and nourishment…this giving … will keep replenishing itself when we share something with someone who doesn’t know

  5. Kristin

    Wow Chance! This was amazing and right on time for what my day will bring today. I am volunteering to do an interview skills training workshop for some young adults that have faced some hefty challenges in their life! I believe that so many of them have potential beyond their understanding but they don’t believe that they can accomplish much because of their prior experiences. Here’s to a day of seed planting and thank you so much for this encouragement! It was definitely a God moment for me this AM!

    1. Chance

      Wow – talk about planting some seeds. GOOD FOR YOU!!! So glad you’re encouraged. What great work you’re doing!

  6. Amy St. John

    Beautiful Chance! As a volunteer with children who have Down Syndrome, this totally hits home! Sometimes we feel like we don’t have “that much” to offer others but it doesn’t take much & you never know if the time & “seeds” we have to offer will make a HUGE difference in the lives of others. All we can do is TRY! Thanks again!

    1. Chance

      Thank YOU for sharing your story. The great thing about ‘not that much’ is you never know what will be added to it. We don’t have to do it all – just what we can… But THAT, we MUST do or it all falls apart.

  7. Stacy Robinson

    This spoke to me, Chance. We often talk about “learning to say no” in order to stay focused and as a time-management tool. While “no” is often a very appropriate response, I’ve learned to say “no” TOO well, TOO easily, and TOO often. … After reading this, I think I’ll be looking for more seed planting opportunities. Thank you.

    1. Chance

      YES!!! You’re not the only one… this is more common than we’d like to admit.

      I think I’ll be looking for more seed planting opportunities. Thank you.// You and me both.

  8. Dave Williamson

    Wow, Chance, how cool. Great story, great application. I’d love to be a fly on the wall sometime as you are meeting with this choir.

    1. Chance

      Well… it’d kinda be like a lesser version of yourself. ;)

      Thanks for your encouragement, my friend. You’ve taught me so much.

  9. angela adams

    Wow….what great words you have spoken again. This truly speaks to “everyone”. I love to talk to my grandbabies about subjects they don’t know a lot about. Just looking at their eyes and knowing they are listening to every word you are saying, and they are learning so much. Planting seeds in litte ones is “priceless”. I hope as they get older they will remember a good lesson or two and any influences that their “Nana” had taught them. :)

    1. Chance

      They’ll remember you forever, and will teach their own kids the things you’re teaching them today… Trust me, I’m proof. xo

  10. Anna-Emily

    This post truely speaks to me as I’m a teacher. So I plant the seed too. And it’s such an experience to see that seed growing into something bigger. It don’t work all the time but when it does, it is worth all the time and efforts invested. That’s true, everyone has something to share with others and everyone needs someone to share something with them. So I think we should be generous and share what we know with those who are willing to learn because someday we’ll need someone else’s experience to be shared with us.

    1. Chance

      Your students are lucky to have a teacher with a heart like yours. I get the sense that you are uncommonly special in your country.

      Loved this comment… thank you for sharing.

  11. Deeob

    Brilliant Chance! What a gift you have of encouragement on so many different levels!! Thank you!!

    1. Chance

      As are you, Dee. Thank you.

  12. Ted

    Thanks for this post as it stops me long enough to remember what has been done for us. I have a mentor that changed the course of our marriage. If he hadn’t cared enough to invest in us, it’s difficult to know what direction life might have taken.

    So, today we pay it forward in the lives of young singles and couples. It’s good to find purpose and to encourage folks along the way. Most people are subject to criticism on a regular basis and praise is like an oasis in the desert.

    Thanks again.

    1. Chance

      Ted, I love every single syllable of this comment. Beautiful redemption, beautiful words. Beautiful purpose.

  13. Jennifer

    Love your post! My parents ask me all the time why I drive all the way to Donelson to teach choreography “is it worth it”? Yes, yes it is…the investment is worth it if even just one of them can take it and do the same for others one day. I always am in awe of their music and drama teachers…the opportunity and the sacrifices they make every day for them to learn, grow, and carry it with them when they go

    1. Chance

      Is it worth it? Yes, yes it is.

      You get it.

  14. cindy wilt colville

    Chance, I love how you are pouring out and pouring into so many lives! I have been so blessed by your planting seeds of encouragement into my life so THANK YOU! Your words in this post were EXACTLY what I needed to hear this morning and a confirmation of what I read yesterday in My Utmost! Any of you Oswald Chambers’ fans check out April 16 entry! Blessings to you my friend!

    1. Chance

      Thank YOU and everyone else!!! These are just words until someone reads them. It would be maddening to have something to say, but no one would listen. THANK YOU FOR READING and for your encouragement.

      Going to read April 16 right now! :)

  15. Topher

    “Let the one who is taught the word share in all good things with the one who teaches” -Gal 6:6

    This is so true… Right after I read your post, opened up, and this was the passage that was right in front of me. So, once again, you’re right on time and target. Speaking as one of those people who had a small measure to begin with, and had to really work to develop the seed of potential, I can still look back and name the very conversations with folks ahead of me that kept me digging deeper. And now, finding myself further down the road, whether in business, marriage, music, etc…I find there is no shortage of opportunity to plant seeds… and as this passage alludes to, we get to have a share in the successes of others we participate in.

    1. Chance

      I would love a good, long visit with you, Chris. I’d listen and listen and listen. And smile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *