picture of a boardroomA successful businessman knew it was time to choose a successor to lead his business. Instead of appointing one of his directors, or one of his children, he decided to call the company's young executives together. He said, "It is time for me to choose the next CEO. I have decided to select one of you." 

The young executives were shocked, but the CEO continued. "I am going to give each of you a SEED today - a very special SEED. Plant the seed, water it, and one year from today bring what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will judge the plants you bring, and choose our next CEO."

One of the leaders, Jim, excitedly told his wife about the plan. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost, and he planted his seed. Every day, he watered it and watched to see if it had grown. Soon some of the other executives began talking about their seeds and the plants beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Weeks went by, but still nothing. Everyone else was talking about their plants, but Jim had no growth and felt like a failure. Six months passed, but still nothing in Jim's pot. He concluded he had killed his seed, but said nothing to his colleagues.

He continued watering and fertilizing the soil - he desperately wanted his seed to grow. When the year ended, the young executives were instructed to bring their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife he refused to take an empty pot to his workplace, but she urged him to be honest about what had happened. It was going to be Jim's most embarrassing moment, but he knew his wife was right. 

Jim took his empty pot to the boardroom. When he arrived, the variety of plants the other executives had grown amazed him. They were beautiful - in many shapes and sizes. When Jim put his empty pot on the floor, many of his colleagues laughed. When the CEO arrived, Jim attempted to conceal himself in back. 

"My, what wonderful plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!" Then the CEO noticed Jim. He invited Jim to the front - with his empty pot.

Jim was terrified. "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!" When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked what had happened to his seed. Jim explained despite his best efforts, nothing had grown. The CEO turned to the group and asked everyone to sit down, except Jim. He then looked at Jim and announced, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!" 

Then the CEO explained: "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back in a year. But I gave you all boiled seeds; it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought healthy plants and flowers. When you found the seed would not grow, you substituted a different one. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

It is said: If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. If you plant goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment. If you plant hard work, you will reap success. If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation. If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest. So be careful what you plant now: it will determine what you will reap later.

"The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out" (Proverbs 10:9).

"The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity" (Proverbs 11:3)