Legends abound about an eccentric barefoot man wandering the countryside scattering appleseeds. And around this time of year, my son’s 1st grade class dedicated a day to apple-based activities in honor of Johnny Appleseed. In honor of the approach of fall, let’s take a closer look.
Jonathan Chapman was born in Massachusetts during the American Revolutionary War. At the age of eighteen, he headed west and lived a nomadic lifestyle. He did not scatter random apple seeds, but rather established tree nurseries in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and returned regularly to care for them. He was known for being kind to animals and was a vegetarian. He also served as a missionary and talked freely about the Gospel to children, adults, and Indians wherever he went.
Lessons for us?
Jonathan never left home without a leather bag full of apple seeds he got from cider mills. Because of this, he became known as the “apple seed” man, eventually being called Johnny Appleseed. What do I carry with me? What am I known for?
As a solid businessman, he journeyed into the wilderness, found good soil, planted seeds, built fences to keep out other animals, and then took care of the trees until selling them to new settlers. Do I have a plan to help people? Do I work hard to accomplish my dream?
His passion for apples and God showed up wherever he went. He was more concerned about people planting trees than paying him, so he often bartered trees for settler’s cast-off clothing. And he made friends with Indians in a time when many others didn’t. Does my passion revealed in everything I do? Do I put the needs of others before my own?
He left a lasting legacy in the thousands of acres of trees, some of which still produce apples today.
What about you? What kind of seed are you carrying? Do you deliberately plant it in good soil or randomly scatter it? What legacy are you leaving behind?