If you are familiar with the scientific terms for the different stages of germination of a seed, you may know “cotyledons” or the seed leaves which play a crucial role in the early growth of the baby plant by supplying nutrition to it. They are present just beneath the seed coat and store food for the embryo to grow.
But what’s fascinating to me is, though they are much significant, the role of cotyledons is very short in the development of a plant. Once the baby plant grows in size, develops more leaves, begins the process of photosynthesis, the cotyledons will shrink and disappear.
We often notice the flourishing green plants and trees and their visible parts like stem, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits but little is known about the life-preserving cotyledons which sustain the baby plant from withering.
A thought struck me as I continued reading the science lesson on germination. Sometimes we too play the cotyledons’ role in other’s lives. The role might be for a short period but it’s very crucial in sustaining someone’s faith, someone’s self-assurance, someone’s determination, someone’s courage or someone’s life itself.
Recently, a 22 years old Muslim girl who stays with her husband and a 2 year old daughter next to our flat approached me for help. They had recently shifted and I hardly had spoken to her earlier or knew her name. She needed my phone to call her relatives. When I asked her if everything was ok, tears began to flow on her cheeks. She narrated her ordeal to me for the next two hours. She was a victim of domestic violence. She and her daughter were left alone by her husband during the night. She was frightened and shattered. She needed help. She needed someone to just listen to her. With bit of Malayalam and English I communicated with her and encouraged her to be strong in this situation. I didn’t realize how my trivial act of being a listener to her could make a significant difference in her life until a couple of hours later, when I went to her with a meal and asked if she needed anything, she hugged me saying that I have come for her help like her own sister. Perhaps, I played the Cotyledons’ role in her life to sustain her strength and courage during that specific and trying time of her life…….
Once we attended a church meeting and wanted the pastor who is also a renowned prophet to pray for our family, especially for our daughter. But he had some further ministry engagements so he needed to rush to the other place after the church meeting. He could only spend half a minute to pray for her. Disappointment began to settle in my heart as we were returning home. While we were in the parking place, we happened to meet an old-aged woman who was the mother of the prophet. She was in her 70’s and looked very simple and gentle. She spoke to us and wanted to know about our daughter’s medical condition. She listened to us and with her simple words encouraged us not to give up on our faith or ever question God for the trials we face. Her benevolence touched my heart. Though she wasn’t given any specific official position in the church ministry, she ministered to us in an authentic way with her unique giftedness. She served as a cotyledon for me to sustain my dismayed heart……
A few days back, I came across a news article about a meal delivery company which honored its delivery agent for his kind act. The delivery agent drove 12 kilometers in heavy rain to deliver food to a woman who had an unwell one year old baby. The agent went above and beyond the call of duty as he hurried to get medicine for the baby in the pouring rain during the night. He drove the next 10 kilometers to buy the medicine. I am sure the agent served like a cotyledon for the mother as he sustained her faith in humanity by his compassionate act…….
My son Asher was so excited to get new friends in the apartment where we recently shifted. I too was relieved to see him play outside with other kids. He tried his best to be a good friend to them. But soon the kids formed a group and began to shout at Asher saying, “You go back to your home, don’t play with us”. My heart felt heavy hearing their words. When he came upstairs, I didn’t know how to approach him. Fighting back my tears and clearing of my throat, I comforted him saying that he tried his best to be a good friend. It’s alright if they don’t want you. I wanted my words to sound louder than the words of rejection the kids hurled at him. Perhaps I played a small yet significant cotyledons’ role by nourishing his soul with assuring words and prevented the feeling of rejection to further take roots in his mind……..
In the vast and flourishing plants, even though the cotyledons’ role is for a very short period and it’s not even visible, it sure is substantial for the baby plant. Similarly, sometimes if you wonder what your role or place is in the massive works of the kingdom of God, where mission trips, crowds, glamorous platforms, outreaches, and crusades are considered the most important means to expand the kingdom work, let us remember, you and I are also playing a significant role by our simple daily acts as we extend His kingdom with His love, kindness and compassion. We are playing the cotyledons’ role which might not be visible and long-lasting but it sure is vital to nourish, protect and reinforce the feeble souls God places in our lives.
Image Source: Wallpaperflare.com