June 13, 2014

Sowing Seeds

Our PWOC summer session has this theme:
Be Rooted in Christ: Sowing Seeds

Based on this, the Lord guided me to giving the following devotional at our summer kickoff a few weeks ago.


Sowing seeds. The images that crop up in our minds (no pun intended!) undoubtedly are scenes of new life. Grass. Vegetables. Flowers. Trees. A seed is the beginning of life, is it not?

Ironically, though, Jesus changed the visual when he talked of seeds in John chapter 12. Verses 23-25 read as follows:
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. 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.”

The disciples had been hearing Jesus say strange things like this for quite some time leading up to his death. But not only was Jesus talking crazy talk about His own death…He was also calling out to the crowd to deny themselves and take up crosses, with a willingness to lay down their own lives.

It was a crazy invitation, an absurd expectation.

And yet…here we are. Nearly two thousand Easter Sundays have passed since Jesus became that kernel of wheat, falling to the ground and dying. Of course, we know that He did not remain in the ground. Just over a month ago we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior—Jesus lives! Hallelujah!

And yesterday—yesterday we did not celebrate, but we remembered. We remembered the ultimate sacrifice that so many Americans have given, those who have laid down their lives in service of their country and fellow man, dying so that others may live.

Death. Life.

The death of a seed produces life.

The death of a soldier preserves life.

The death of our Savior provides life—life eternal, life abundant. But the funny thing is, that abundant life only comes when we die to ourselves; that is, when we die to the sinful nature we are all born with; when we die to the pride and selfishness inherent in our hearts.

Pride and selfishness go hand in hand. Pride tells me I deserve the best; selfishness encourages me to go out and grab it. Pride tells me I deserve an easy life; selfishness shows me how to make it happen. Pride tells me I know better than God; selfishness causes me to take matters into my own hands. If I don’t repent and lay down my pride, selfishness will take over my life—and life will be all about ME: MY plans. MY desires. MY stuff. God knows our human frailties: the cycle of selfishness destroys us. It makes us miserable. This is why we have to put it to death.

Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer life, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

John 10:10 says the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came so that we might have LIFE—abundant life.

God doesn’t demand that we enter a relationship with Him and serve Him in order to fulfill His own self interests. He invites us to lay ourselves down on the altar as living sacrifices so that we can truly find a joy-encompassing, freedom-abounding, wildly satisfying life.

And when we find that life…when the seed of God’s Word has taken root in our hearts…then suddenly WE become active agents in bringing life into the world around us. WE begin sowing seeds. And by God’s grace, some of those seeds will take root in the hearts of the people around us, and the cycle continues, bringing a harvest of righteousness and glory to Christ.

ISAIAH 61:11
For as the soil makes the sprout come up 
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness 
and praise spring up before all nations.

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