THE EMPEROR AND THE SEED
Once there was an emperor in the Far East who was growing old and knew it was coming time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or one of his own children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, "It has come time for me to step down and to 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 seed. It is a very special seed. I want you to go home, 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 to me, and the one I choose will be the next emperor of the kingdom!"
There was one boy named Ling who was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. She helped him get a pot and some planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch 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. Ling kept going home and checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by. Still nothing. By now others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by, still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she encouraged him to go, and to take his pot, and to be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he trusted his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.
When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by all the other youths. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. Ling 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. Ling 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 a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!"
When Ling got to the...Continue reading this sermon illustration (Free with PRO)
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Lou Nicholes on May 25, 2005
A custom of the natives in New Guinea is told. At certain times they have rituals, songs, and dances. They work themselves up into a frenzy and the ritual culminates in what are called “the murder songs,” in which they shout before God the names of the people they wish to kill. When the natives ...read more
Contributed by Donald Smith on Apr 24, 2003
A story is told about a famous preacher long ago who pastored a church that was filled every Sunday by people who traveled miles on foot just to hear his messages. One day, as the church was emptying, a passerby asked one of the people in the church why this preacher’s messages were so compelling. ...read more
Contributed by Byron Maynard on Apr 9, 2005
We have all heard the "Good New!"..."Bad News!" aphorisms. Here’s one with a little different twist. I have some "Bad News!...Good News!...Best News!" for you... The bad news, you are dying! It’s no joke, biologist tell us that every day, to some extent, each of us are dying...The cells and ...read more
Contributed by Peter Chan on Feb 11, 2005
Faith Involves Resting Securely on God’s Revelation –Entering the Ark. Noah’s faith in become a verb is completed with his entrance into the Ark with his family. It inspires me to learn that Noah was so confident about God’s promise and power that he went into the Ark with his family. It is one ...read more
Contributed by Michael Mccartney on Apr 24, 2003
Quest Study Bible notes this about the question,” What changed at this pivotal point in history?” The resurrection vindicated Jesus’ claims about himself, that he was the Son of God in the flesh, the fulfillment of God’s dealings with humankind. No longer would people have to follow rules and ...read more
Contributed by Tom Shepard on Feb 18, 2016
This sermon looks at seven principles to win the battles of life. 1. Identify Your ENEMY 2. Don’t Be Driven By EMOTION 3. Take Your Problems To The LORD 4. Admit You Need HELP 5. Rely On God’s POWER 6. Relax In FAITH 7. Thank God In ADVANCE
Contributed by Sam Mccormick on Aug 14, 2017
God's grace as the avenue of salvation is sometimes seen as being in conflict with obedience of the believer as a requirement, without which salvation cannot be obtained. Which is it, or is it a combination? Can this dichotomy be satisfactorily resolved?