Taking the Fear Factor Out of Ministry
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,” John 12:24.
Here Jesus is speaking about his expectations of his followers in the burgeoning church. The “die to self” principle is a common thread through the new testament, and is often accompanied by fairly strong language. You might find it easy to become intimidated by the prospect set forth by Christ–in some cases, rightfully so, as it is no small task–but before you sell all your earthly goods and clothe yourself in rags, understand the promise that accompanies the call.
In both instances set forth in the verse, death occurs. However, in the latter half of the verse, the seed (us) submits to its purpose and bears literal fruit. Well, wheat in this case!
When we misunderstood Christ’s call to die, we feel that me must seek out misery and hardship in order to appear holy. Many times this can become a vain pursuit. However, when God instructs us many times to deny ourselves, He is referring to our selfish desires, like lust, power, or money.
What is fascinating is that though we will face trials in the our pursuit of Christ, we have the opportunity to live a full earthly life, and subsequently a fuller eternal one. Think of it in these terms, the grain that fell by the wayside and the grain that was planted in soft soil. Both will have the sun’s warm rays shine on them. Both will be nurtured by the rain and other natural resources. However, while the grain in the soft soil may die, it finds new life and becomes what it was meant to be.
When you wrestle with Christ calling you to sacrifice, remember to understand the promise that follows.
Writing credit- Jeremy Angione, ministrymaker contributing writer.