Posted by: bellissimanh | September 18, 2010

Compost Pile Pumpkins

True story.

When I was little (I’m thinking 7 years old?), my sister and I got hold of some pumpkin seeds. I’m not sure if I had brought them home from school or what. I think the intent was for them to be roasted, but Glenna and I had different plans for those seeds. We snagged a few of them to keep.

My dad had a compost pile. This is not just any compost pile… it was outside the kitchen window. Logically it was genius, very close to dad’s garden – but for my mom, trying to keep a house in downtown Wolfeboro, NH,  it was NOT so appreciated. Various leftovers and garbage smeared the siding under the kitchen window. Egg shells, onion ends, coffee grounds, corn husks… you name it, it found a home under that window. Yeah. Gross.

Before I lose you, let me connect these two pictures. Glenna and I decided we were going to plant those seeds we had hidden, and plant them we did. In the compost pile (or at least RIGHT next to it – my memory’s not perfectly clear on that). We never told anyone about our little “garden”, but just threw the seeds in there and moved on to do something else (probably fight over the big stuffed dog we had purchased together at a neighbor’s yard sale). I think we had forgotten about those seeds within 15 minutes of planting them.

Until several months later when my dad came in from the garden and declared, “There are some strange looking squash growing out there!”  Glenna and I squealed with delight remembering the seeds we had tucked into the dirt that day and couldn’t believe that they had actually grown into pumpkins! (I think mom and dad were pretty surprised as well!)

Mom and I were laughing over this story the other day, but it got me to thinking. How often do we, as believers, scatter seed here and there, not expecting much to come of it? If we’re truly living the Christian life, maybe we aren’t even aware of sowing seeds because it’s just part of who we are. We might say something that just seems natural to us, and then never think of it again… moving on to other things as my sister and I did after planting those pumpkin seeds. But then… days, months, even years later… we find unexpected fruit. Someone will say…


 “You might not remember this, but I was really going through a difficult time once and you prayed for me… God answered your prayer and I have never forgotten it. I knew I needed to know a God like that!”


“Remember how you used to invite me to your church? I always said no, but you never stopped asking… and you never judged me for not showing up. I didn’t know what it was at the time that impressed me, but now I realize it was grace. I wanted what you had. Years later I recognized a void in my life. I thought of you and decided to check out this church thing. I never found my way to YOUR church, but now I’ve found Jesus! Thank you, my friend!”


“I watched you walk through that struggle last year. To me, it seemed as if your life was falling apart, and yet you seemed so strong… so held together. I always wondered what it was that enabled you to handle everything, and to not be bitter and angry over the hand life had dealt you. I think the answer is found in your faith… in your God.”


Planting seeds takes so many forms. All of these may seem indirect methods, but ultimately, the most authentic seed sowing comes down to knowing and living God’s Word… sharing His truth with the world around us. You don’t have to quote chapter and verse to sow Truth deep into someone else’s life… but you do have to know it. Love it. LIVE it. 

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11) 

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” (Luke 8:5-8)


The farmer above was never criticized for wasteful scattering. He simply threw the seed out and left the results up to the Lord. He probably didn’t even go back and check each of those grounds for results. You will never share the Word of God with someone and be accused by the Father of wasting seeds. The outcome is in His hands. We may never even see the harvest.

But sometimes… every so often… we are blessed to find unexpected pumpkins that have grown as a result of seed we don’t even remember hiding in the compost pile. I love that!



  1. Great post, Heather! In youth ministry, we often hear YEARS after spending time with students, often many years after last seeing them, about something we said that impacted them, or something we did that eventually resurfaced in their minds again. Sometimes those seeds seem so small and worthless… until the pumpkins appear! Thanks for the reminder – such great encouragement.

  2. I had that happen, Heather. I said something to a fella in my first year in college that, unbeknownst to me began his journey toward Jesus. It was almost 25 years later before I knew that something I said had impacted him. Wow!!

    Our job is to scatter seed. Jesus’ job is to grow the fruit!! Great post.


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