When American settlers in the early 1800s saw a man wearing an odd-looking hat and carrying tree seedlings slung over his back, they knew they were in for a visit from Johnny Appleseed. Johnny’s real name was John Chapman, and his goal in life was to provide apple trees for every farm in the Midwest.
He got free apple seeds from the cider presses in Pennsylvania. Then he would take his bags of seeds and travel by foot or canoe, planting seeds in any good soil. Farmers let him plant on their land, and sometimes he purchased land, paying for it with young apple trees.
Johnny Appleseed was more than just an odd-looking man on a mission. He was also a God-fearing man. When he stopped at farms and homesteads, people would give him dinner and a place to stay. Then he would tell the children stories about nature and God’s love, sharing how to care for God’s creation.
For nearly fifty years Johnny spread apple trees and the word of God until his death in 1845.
Apple trees are unique because they don’t «breed true.» That means if you take ten seeds from the same apple, plant them, and grow ten trees, each tree will produce a different kind of apple. It’s God’s way of adding variety to creation.
Apple growers and scientists are constantly working to re-produce uniform apples that have consistent taste and texture. But when God grows apples, He gives us variety and unexpected wonders, since He creates no two apple trees alike. He does the same thing with people, doesn’t He?