Today’s WORD (Text) John 12:24-26
24/ Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies it bears much fruit. 25/ Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26/ Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
A metaphor from agriculture teaches an important lesson concerning discipleship. The vegetation and fruit of the fields begin with a single grain that falls to the ground; in dying it actually takes root in the soil, and with time, sun and rain the grain comes to life again. Christian discipleship consists in pursuing a purposeful life modeled on the sacrificial and unconditional love of Jesus of Nazareth, even when that entails forgoing personal desires that may promise immediate happiness. Those who follow the example of Jesus may suffer setbacks in the short term but will gain a full life that is characterized by service, generosity, and fulfillment. God has a vision for all our lives that is both full and fulfilling, and the vision will come to pass when we serve and love others as we love ourselves.
Have you ever felt moved to surrender a short-term personal pursuit in your life in exchange for a more costly long-term goal that stood to benefit not only you but others also?
Dear God, we confess that as our understanding of discipleship deepens, we discover the costs of following Jesus. Help us to walk the earthly trails that you have already traversed with humility, grace, patience, and love. We confess the immaturity and impatience that hold us back from obtaining our spiritual goals so often. Grant us the wisdom, courage, and strength needed to endure these challenging times as we await your appearing. Amen.
The Passionary Intention
Today, I choose to live my life with passion. Today, I intend to follow Christ more nearly, love more dearly and incarnate God’s grace more clearly by asking myself three questions:
- Where will I follow Christ today?
- To whom shall I demonstrate Jesus’ love and justice today?
- How can I play my part in practicing the presence of Christ, right here, right now?
The Passionary Movement Word and Witness devotion is published weekdays (Monday – Friday). Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies is the author of today’s devotion.
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