I've been wondering about this today.
We have one minister who has admitted to "seeding" his meetings -- putting stuff in place naturally so that it would appear supernatural. The idea behind it really just a variation on a 'classic' Word of Faith teaching: if it happens, people will believe it... and if people will believe it, it will happen. So... the rationale for "seeding" the meetings is that when people saw the gems, they'd think God put them there. Their faith would be built up... and then gems would actually appear.
That's the rationale.
In other circles, they call it "priming the pump." It's the same reason why ministers have someone share a testimony or call out a few "lightning rod" people and pray for them in front of the whole congregation... they want to demonstrate that something is happening, because if people will expect something to happen, it is more likely that it will.
But something specific about "seeding" still bothers me...
Consider this: if the idea of "seeding" could enter the mind of a minister who knows that he will be under scrutiny, couldn't it also occur to someone in the congregation? I know that there were faked healings in many of the churches where healing crusades took place. The same thing that motivates a person to fake a healing could motivate a person to fake any of these other things. So... someone brings a handful of little 'gem chips' with them to the service. Maybe they just "seed" them for themselves to find... or maybe they spread it around...
I vaguely remember an episode of The Brady Bunch that does a good job of illustrating this idea. One of the boys--I'm pretty sure it was the youngest one--wanted to "stretch" himself out so he could get taller. He measures his height against a wall and marks it there. Then he goes and literally "hangs out" on the swingset all day. During the course of the day, three well-meaning family members secretly move the mark down by about half an inch each. So at the end of the day, when he measures himself again, it looks like he has grown a staggering 1.5 inches! Then, one by one, the family members admit to what they have done. There's been no growth afterall.
The moral of the story: if you want to measure your growth, don't measure yourself by something that is so easily moved :)
But back to the "seeding" issue.
So... the minister throws out a few "seed" gemstones. Then another person spreads a few around. Then another... Each of these individuals notice that there are stones present in the meeting which they themselves could not have planted... therefore, it's a miracle after all! Their seed multiplied! Not only is the whole thing validated, but they can feel justified in that they obeyed God and He multiplied the seed sown.
If EVERYONE who "seeded" stuff in these meetings came clean--if they were all 100% honest--would we be forced to conclude, as the Brady's did, that nothing had really happened after all?
I don't have anything personally against the Smiths. And if people really want to comb through carpets for crystal chips, that's their business. Personally, I do not believe that we should be looking for this sort of stuff... but is God capable of doing it? Of course He is. I just tend to think that He does things for a reason, and I've yet to hear of any good reason for this. It certainly isn't a good idea to use this as a measure of your spirituality.... that's a mark that is far too easily moved.