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The Beauty of Every Day: Chapter 3 - Seeds of Light

By J.R. Miller

      In one of the Psalms, we are told that, "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart." There is nothing remarkable in the assurance of light and gladness for the faithful--that is the teaching of the whole Bible. The remarkable thing in the promise, is the way the light and gladness are said to come. "Light is sown for the righteous." The figure of sowing is striking--light coming in seeds, planted like wheat, to grow up for us out of the soil. Our blessings are sown for us--and grow in fields and gardens, and we gather them as we reap the harvests or pluck lovely flowers.

      This means that the good things of our lives, do not come to us full-grown--but as seeds. We know what a seed is. It contains only in germ form--the plant, the tree, or the flower which is to be. In this way all earthly life begins. When God wants to give an oak tree to the forest, he does not set out a great tree; he plants an acorn. When he would have a harvest of golden wheat waving on the field, he does not work a miracle and have it spring up over-night; he puts into the farmer's hands a bushel of wheat grains to scatter in the furrows.

      The same law holds in the moral and spiritual life. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which . . . becomes a tree." So a noble life begins in a little seed, a mere point of life. It is at first only a thought, a suggestion, a desire--then a decision, a holy purpose.

      God sows light and gladness for us. He gives us blessings as seeds, which he buries in the furrows of our lives, or hides in the soil--so that they may grow and in due time develop into beauty and fruitfulness. When you look at a seed, you do not see all the splendor which will unfold from it at length. All you see is a little brown and unsightly hull, which gives no hint of the beauty which will spring from it--when it is planted and dies--and then grows up.

      Just so, many of the beams of light--comfort, strength, joy, and good, that now are so prominent in your life, came to you at first as unwelcome things. They did not shine as beams of radiant light. They were not glad things. They may have been burdens, disappointments, sufferings, losses--but they were seeds with life in them. God was sowing light and gladness for you, in these experiences which were so unwelcome, so hard to endure.

      There are many ways in which God has sown light in the past. Think of the seeds of light sown in the creation and preparation of the earth to be our home. In the account of creation, we have a wonderful glimpse of the divine heart and of God's love for man, his child. The building of the earth was no accident. It did not spring into being and develop into beauty--without thought and purpose. There was divine design in it. From the beginning, God meant the earth to be the home of his children, and so we find love-thoughts everywhere. God looked forward and put in provisions, planned conveniences, stored blessings that would make the earth ages afterward, a happy home for his children, lacking nothing.

      We have it in the Genesis story. There was only chaos. "The earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." A marginal reading is, "The Spirit of God was brooding upon the face of the waters." The picture which the words suggest, is that of a hen sitting on her nest, covering her eggs with her wings, brooding over them. So God brooded over the chaos of the world which he was preparing, thinking in love of his children to be aeons hence, and planning for their happiness and good.

      Through all the great ages of world-building, we find evidences of this divine brooding and forethought. Think of all the beauty put into the earth which was to be man's home, of all the good and useful things stored in nature for man's comfort--ages before there was a man on the earth. Think, for instance, of the vast beds of coal laid up among earth's strata, that our homes might be warm and bright in these late centuries. Think of the minerals piled away in the rocks, of electricity stored in exhaustless measures and kept hidden until these modern days, to be of such incalculable service to mankind. Look at the springs of water opened on every hillside; note the provision in every climate and zone--for man's food and clothing. All this marvelous preparation was made ages before man's creation! It was God sowing seeds of light and gladness, that in due time they might grow and fill the world with good!

      Or think of the way Jesus Christ sowed light and gladness for his people in his incarnation. What was he doing in those beautiful years of his, those days of sharp temptation, those hours of suffering? He was sowing seeds of light and gladness, the blessings of whose brightness we are receiving now. Or think of the divine promises as seeds of light, seeds of gladness, sown in the fields of the holy Word. Wherever they grow--they yield joy and beauty. Deserts are made to blossom as the rose, wherever the sower goes forth to sow.

      God's sowing was not all in the past, in forethought. He is sowing light and gladness for us every day.

      Every duty given to us--is a seed of light, sown for us. We may not see the shining in it--as it first presents itself. Many of us do not like the duties which God has given us. We prefer to follow our own inclinations. A good woman, speaking of something someone was urging her to do and which she was trying to evade, said, "I suppose it must be my duty--but I hate it so!" Ofttimes our duties at first seem distasteful, even repulsive. They have no attraction for us. But when we accept them and do them--they are transformed. We then begin to see good in them, blessing to ourselves, help to others.

      Seeds are sometimes dark and rough as we look at them--but when they are planted--there emerges a beautiful tree or a lovely flower. Just so, disagreeable tasks when done--appear bright and glad.

      One tells of a homely picture which would hearten humdrum life. It shows a poor, discouraged-looking horse in a treadmill. Round and round he tramps in the hot, dusty ring, not weary only, we might say, of the toil--but also of its endlessness and its futility. Yet there is more of the picture. The horse is harnessed to a beam from which a rope reaches down the hill to the river's edge, and there it is seen that the animal is hoisting stones to build a great bridge, on which by and by trains will run, carrying a wealth of human life and commerce. This transforms the horse's treadmill tramping, into something worth while. It is not fruitless. Good comes out of it.

      There are men and women in workshops, in homes, in trades, in the professions, in Christian life's service, who sometimes grow weary of the drudgery, the routine, the self-denials, the endlessness of their tasks--with never a word of praise or commendation to cheer them. But if we could see to what these unhonored toils and self-denials reach, what they accomplish, the blessings they carry to others, the bridges they help to build on which others cross to better things--the picture would be transformed! It is in these commonplace tasks, these lowly ministries, that we find life's true beauty and glory.

      Every duty, however unwelcome, is a seed of light! To evade it or neglect it--is to miss a blessing; to do it--is to have the rough seed burst into beauty in the heart and life of the doer! We are continually coming up to stern and severe things, and often we are tempted to decline doing them. If we yield to such temptations, we shall reap no joy from God's sowing of light for us; but if we take up the hard task, whatever it is, and do it cheerfully, we shall find the blessing. Our duties are seeds of light.

      God sows his seeds of light and gladness also, in the providences of our lives. They do not always seem bright and good at the time. Sometimes, indeed, we cannot see anything beautiful in them, or anything good. For example, Joseph's kidnaping and carrying into Egypt. No one supposes that the boy saw anything happy or radiant in the things which befell him at the hands of his brothers. There could scarcely have been the slightest gladness in his heart--as he found himself hopelessly in the hands of his enemies. Yet that strange experience in the boy's life--was really a seed of light. It was only a seed, however, at the time. It seemed then the utmost cruelty in the men who did it.

      Some people ask about such a murderous piece of inhumanity, "How can God be kind--and permit such wickedness?" Still it was a seed of light and gladness. God used that terrible crime--to enfold in itself a great blessing. Twenty years or so afterwards, the seed had grown into a fruitful plant of blessing.

      Some of the providences in all our lives come to us first--in alarming and forbidding form. They are seeds of light which God has sown--but the light is not apparent. They come to us in losses, sufferings, disappointments. Yet they are seeds of light--and in due time the light will break out! At first they seem only destructive--but afterward blessing appears in them. We dread adversity--but when its work is finished, we find that we are enriched in heart and life! We are reluctant to accept painful providences; afterward we learn that our disappointments are divine appointments!

      God is ever bringing good to us, never evil. He goes before us and scatters the furrows full of seeds, seeds of light. It is not visible light that he scatters--but dull seeds, carrying hidden in them the secret of light. Then by and by, as we come after him, the light in the seeds breaks forth, just at the right time--and our way is made bright. There is not a single dark spot in all our path, if only we are living righteously. There are places which seem dark as we approach them. We are afraid, and ask, "How can I ever get through that point of gloom?" But when we come to it--the light shines out and it is radiant as day.

      According to the old legend, our first parent was in great dread as the first evening of his life approached. The sun was about to set. He trembled at the thought of the disaster which would follow. But the sun went down silently, and lo! ten thousand stars flashed out. The darkness revealed--more than it hid. So, for every darkness in our life, God has stars of light ready to shine!

      We need never dread hardness, for it is in the hard experiences that the seeds of light are hidden. The best things never are the easiest things. The best men are not grown in luxury and self-indulgence. We dread crosses--but it is only in cross-bearing that we find life's real treasures. In every cross, God hides his seeds of radiant light. Accept the cross, take it up, and the light will shine out!

      God wants us to go forth every day--as sowers of light and gladness. Whether we mean it so, or not, we are sowers, everyone of us, every day of our life, every step of our way. The question is, What kinds of seeds do we sow?

      The Master, in one of his little stories, tells us of an enemy who, after the farmer had scattered good seed over his field, came stealthily and secretly sowed tares among the wheat. What seed did you sow yesterday? Did you plant only pure thoughts, good thoughts, holy thoughts, white, clean thoughts, gentle, loving thoughts--in the gardens of people's lives where you sowed? It is a pitiful thing for anyone to put an evil thought into the mind of another.

      God wants us to sow only good seeds. Seeds of light! He wants us to make this world brighter. Seeds of gladness! He wants us to make the world happier. Some people do neither. They sow gloom and discouragement, wherever they go. They sow sadness, pain and grief. If we are this kind of sower, we are missing our mission, we are disappointing God, we are making the world less bright and less happy.

      But think of one who, wherever he goes, sows only seeds of light and gladness. His life is pure, for only pure hands can sow seeds of light. He is a sincere lover of men, as his Master was. He never thinks of himself. He never spares himself--when any other needs his service. He is anxious only to do good to others, to make them better, to make them gladder. Let us be sowers of light and of gladness--always and everywhere. Thus shall we help Christ to change deserts into rose gardens--and to fill the world with light and love!

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - While We May
   Chapter 2 - The Glory of the Common Life
   Chapter 3 - Seeds of Light
   Chapter 4 - He Calls Us Friends
   Chapter 5 - Not Counting God
   Chapter 6 - Perfection in Loving
   Chapter 7 - Shut Your Door
   Chapter 8 - Things That Hurt Life
   Chapter 9 - Getting Away from Our Past
   Chapter 10 - Thomas' Mistake
   Chapter 11 - Friends and Friendship
   Chapter 12 - The Yoke and the School
   Chapter 13 - The Weak Brother
   Chapter 14 - The Lure of the Ministry
   Chapter 15 - Narrow Lives
   Chapter 16 - The True Enlarging of Life
   Chapter 17 - Through the Year with God
   Chapter 18 - The Remembers
   Chapter 19 - Caring for the Broken Things


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