Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, 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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
– John 12:23-26
“Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people— the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a ‘doormat.’ The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that ‘falls into the ground and dies’— it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Chambers touches on so many thoughts in this paragraph, but the most telling is when he ties his thoughts together into the Scripture above. Jesus is first talking about His death and resurrection, but through His analogy with a kernel of wheat, He is also talking about all believers. Yes, all believers have a mission on earth. We are to die to self and grow in faith by serving Jesus.
What is the worth of a single seed? A moment’s nourishment, no, just a taste, and then it is gone.
But if that seed gives up itself, as a seed, and is planted? Jesus wants us to serve Him. When we die to self, it is like that seed being planted and wheat grows as a result, producing many more seeds. Jesus wants us to be focused. Only those willing to leave everything else behind and follow Him need apply.
Does that make a person puff out their chest? Hardly. We are serving God. God is glorified. If we toot our horns, we are doing it wrong. We only become more like Jesus when are: As Chambers says, that our life resembles a humble life in “its seeming insignificance and its meekness.”
Was Jesus seemingly insignificant and meek? Peter drew a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane (Peter – identified in the Gospel of John account). Jesus replied (Matthew 26:52-54)
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
Jesus humbled Himself. He humbled Himself unto death. He could have called upon the angels, but Jesus knew what had to be done. Peter would understand, eventually, in roughly 50 days at Pentecost.
Should we be gregarious? We should be humbler, yet Chambers mentions the adjective ‘seeming’ before the word insignificance. Jesus turned the world on its ear. Christianity has grown and spread to the corners of the earth. And how has that happened? By humble followers of Jesus sacrificing self, which includes the causes of that age, and planting their Spiritual seed so that many can be nourished by the fruit of their labors.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.