By the Waters of Babylon – Ps 137:1
Most people know about the folk hero, Johnny Appleseed, who moved across the heartland of America during the early western expansion of the frontier. He became famous for scattering seeds as he walked, planting apple trees everywhere he traveled. What is less well-known is that the Christian faith was central to who Johnny was and to what he did with his life. Besides planting seeds, Johnny lived the life of a missionary. As he traveled, he shared the gospel with many adults and children, including the Native Americans he met along the way.
Johnny Appleseed’s work was simple and physical, carrying seeds and seedlings to people in the frontier so that families and communities could have a useful crop and feed themselves. His work was grounded in his faith – like Jesus, he saw the planting of seeds as symbolic of how God’s Love is planted in us and bears fruit. Author Cammie Sancheti points out that Johnny “looked for ways to spread his faith along with his apple trees, instead of abandoning one work to take up another. In essence, he let God use him where he was.”
Johnny Appleseed spread his faith along with his apple trees. He heard God’s Word, understood it, and shared it with others, and the result was the growth of both the Christian faith and apple trees. We can do the same, although we don’t have to hike across the frontier and distribute seeds and seedlings. There is plenty of planting and sharing to do in our own neighborhoods. We can get dirty and let God use us right where we are.