In Friday’s post , SchoolBOX president Tom Affleck told us that the most rewarding aspect of his work has been witnessing creation—seeing his work begin as a mustard seed and then grow and evolve.
He refers to the biblical quote from the books of Luke or Matthew (take your pick) that say that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. This is yet another occasion for us to free ourselves from the prison of literalist thinking and embrace the offerings of metaphor: the potential for a compassionate world lies within tiny seeds that don’t look like they could ever amount to much.
We see this in power-of-one stories: Tom’s mustard seed came to him the moment he realized that he had changed a girl’s life; Terry Fox sowed his mustard seed when he decided to run across Canada; Ryan Hreljac was six years old when he planted the seeds for the Ryan’s Well Foundation.
Compassion and perseverance
All of these stories have two things in common: compassion and perseverance. These people began their journeys for selfless reasons, only to help others. These people persevered on their journeys through trying times and inclement weather. How easy would it have been for any of them to stop? Who would have blamed them?
But, they didn’t. They persevered, transforming the power of one into the power of many. When compassion lies at the core, a story ripples out to touch more and more people, who then tell the story to ripple out and touch more and more people.
Cancer, lack of clean water in Africa, and illiteracy in Central America—these are big issues. Who would think that one person could make a difference? Terry, Ryan and Tom, that’s who.
Each of us can plant a mustard seed.
When we do, at the beginning, we will feel all alone. At the beginning, the magnitude of the problem we’re trying to overcome will seem overwhelming. We will think, “What difference can one person make?”
One person is a mustard seed containing the potential for a compassionate world. If you plant your seed and persevere, your story will ripple out and touch more and more people, and you won’t be alone for long.