Seeds for Thought

PRINCIPLE: “When the seed dies, look for life.”
In thinking further about all those maple seeds, I realized that many of them will die only to eventually become majestic trees. My mind turned to John 12:24 – “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” There is life through death. If the kernel remained a kernel there would be no plant. Think about buying a package of seeds. What good would it do to simply put them on the shelf and admire them? Seeds have but one purpose and that is to be buried, cease life as a seed, and give birth to greater life in the form of a plant. Only through the death of the seed will there be plant life; it’s a principle of nature. “When the seed dies, look for life.”
Jesus’ application followed immediately (verse 25): “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Through Jesus’ death new life has gone forth to millions. If He had not died, we would not share His life. But by His death His Spirit was sent forth into His people throughout the world. In a short space of time after Jesus’ death, the number of His disciples did not merely increase, but multiplied. The fruit born on the day of Pentecost was the first fruit of a rich, abundant harvest – not only in the Jewish world, but among the Gentiles also. The Romans had put Him to death; but in a few generations the Roman Empire acknowledged His supremacy. The world had cast Him out; but the world was saved by Him. “When the seed dies, look for life.”
That’s why John wrote that life is in Jesus. So Jesus produced, through His death, a whole race of people. True life comes only through the death of Jesus Christ. As John said in the beginning of his gospel, “In Him was life.” His death on the cross provides life for all who believe in him.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
But Jesus continued: “…if it dies it produces many seeds.” The seed that seems to be dead, has lodged within it the possibility of an ever-expanding life. Imagine one of those ‘helicopter seeds’ – what can come from it? A maple tree, a ship, a navy fleet. The seed has a life-germ that is capable of increase and multiplication. Or imagine a handful of seed-corn – we can see a package carried to a distant country, producing a nation’s food. Jesus said that we, too, must die (verse 25): “The man who loves his life will lose it…”The problem is that we possess a basic instinct for self-preservation.  So Jesus pointed to a higher principle: “The man who loves his life will lose it…while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Through death there is life. Hate your life and save your life – not quite the formula we expect, is it? We are bent on self-preservation but we need to live beyond ourselves to live. “When the seed dies, look for life.”

So what does it mean to hate your life? Jesus died long before He was crucified. He first died to – hated – Himself. He often said that He had come not to do His own will, but the will of His Father. In Gethsemane, as He wrestled with His impending crucifixion, He promised His Father, “Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” “When the seed dies, look for life.” So we are to hate our lives – we are to die to ourselves. We are to love God first and then our neighbors.. It’s not that we neglect ourselves – it’s that our concern for ourselves must stand beneath a higher concern. And when we die, there will be life. “When the seed dies, look for life.” What would dying to yourself look like? What will it take to produce life in your neighbor? What will happen to and in them when they see you die? “When the seed dies, look for life.”

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