May 11, 2011

Unless A Grain Dies

In Minnesota this year, winter seems to not want to let go of its icy grip and spring seems to still not be FULLY here; and this is already the second week of May! But, fear not, spring will eventually get to us; it has to in order for summer to get here. 

Spring is (normally) that time of the year when new life is bursting forth. And yet, beneath the surface it is really about death. The great paradox of life is that it is the death of seeds, of last year’s plants, and of things now laying in the soil that really is where the life comes from. 

It is planting a seed, a grain, a kernel, and letting the earth’s cycle take over that is a normal part of the farmer’s or gardener’s understanding when they go about the early spring chores. They plant the seeds KNOWING that the seeds MUST die and WHEN they die they will produce a greater harvest than if the seed had been somehow able to stay alive. They know that death produces the life that is hidden in the seed.

Do you realize that a single kernel of corn has the potential of producing around 2400 kernels? What do I mean?
• A kernel of corn planted in the ground will produce one corn stock
• Each corn stock will produce one to three cobs of corn
• Each ear of corn contains eight or more rows of kernels (16 rows)
• Each row contains around 50 kernels per row
• In other words: approx. 800 kernels from one ear of corn times 3 cobs

So, potentially the death of a single kernel of corn will yield a harvest of 2400 kernels or new seeds. I’m so glad that the seed, grain, or kernel does not fight the farmer or gardener to stay alive.

Jesus’ disciples were trying so hard to keep Jesus alive and almost missed what God was really up to (thank God for the Holy Spirit!). It was in the death of Jesus where true life really began. The tomb of Jesus was really a “womb” that produced life eternal to those who would believe in the completed work of Jesus Christ’ death, burial, and resurrection!

"But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:23-25).

Jesus was talking about His impending death, burial, and resurrection. It was His sacrifice that paid for our sins and brought us life (if we turn from our sins and turn to Him).

Jesus was also talking about those who would follow Him; His disciples and those who call themselves “Christians”. He was talking about letting go of anything that was cross wise with His plans and will for our lives. Jesus said to pray; “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Have you ever noticed that in the middle of the word “obedience” is the word “die”? God want us to die to ourselves. He wants us to Rely on Him, and Him alone. And then allow His Spirit to flow through us to others.

I feel the need to state the obvious; but with all of the cult leaders over the years stating otherwise; JESUS IS NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU KILLING YOURSELF! He is talking about laying down your life; about letting go and trusting Him. About not being so consumed about the things here on the earth that we miss the bigger picture.

His cry was to contradict the humanistic and hedonistic belief that real life came from anything outside of Him. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13).

Jesus said that the great exchange is that He would bring us LIFE, real life! “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b). That if we were thirsty, we could have “living waters” (John 4:10).

So where are you at; are you still struggling to get everything you can out of this life hoping that something, ANYTHING will finally actually be life to you? We are driven, pulled by inner urges; yet never satisfied. You get the ‘prize’ yet you are no happier than you were before. Perhaps it is time to stop. And wait. And go to God. He is able to bring life even in the midst of a spring that never seems to come.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

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