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It seems like we keep on doing everything we know how to win disciples, and yet nothing works... while those who cheat on the truth keep on growing. Here is an inspirational story to encourage you to stay faithful.

It's about a Chinese emperor who was growing old and he needed a successor. He didn't want to choose someone high up in the government, or one of his own relatives. Instead, he called all of the school children to a meeting, and told them he was going to give each one of them a seed, and he wanted them to plant the seed, then return a year later with their plant. Based on their progress, he would choose one of them to take over as emperor after he died.

One particular boy, named Ling, planted his seed very carefully in a pot of rich black soil, and faithfully watered it. However, day after day passed, and it did not sprout. Soon weeks had passed, and there was no sign of growth at all. He visited some of his friends, and their seeds were growing nicely. For the entire year he tried everything he could think of to make his seed grow, but nothing worked. When it came time for the children to bring their plants to the meeting with the emperor, Ling was almost too embarrassed to go. However, he felt that it was his duty to tell the emperor the truth about his failure.

All the children were gathered together in a huge hall, and the emperor moved quickly from child to child, examining their plants. Way in the back was Ling with his empty pot. When the emperor saw him, he immediately asked his guards to bring Ling up on the stage in front of all the people. Ling was horrified, thinking that he was going to be punished in front of all the others.

Instead, the emperor announced that Ling was to be their next emperor. Everyone was shocked, but especially Ling. And then the emperor began to explain.

"Before I handed out the seeds last year," he said, "I boiled them all, making it impossible for them to grow into new plants. I wanted a successor who would be honest, even if it made him look bad, and Ling is that person. The rest of you cheated, in an attempt to impress me; but Ling was faithful, and he was honest."

Pretty good, eh?

Stay faithful, even if it seems like we're getting nowhere!

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