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Dead Seeds
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Today we plant the garden. My wife laid out some purchased some seed packets and also pulled a big gallon glass jar from the fruit room that has extra seeds. She laid them all out on the kitchen counter and decided, along with our still-at-home kids (ages 15 and 17), which things to plant. Some crops do better in our short climate than others. There’s a bit of excitement in the air on this late day in May. Our older daughter came over with our two grandchildren who will also help.

When our children were small and first helped plant our garden, I recalled the quizzical look on their faces when we opened the seed packets and poured a few into their hands to drop in the ground for planting. Some seeds, like corn, looked familiar to them, but others looked … dead! Seeds for green beans didn’t look too shriveled, but beet seeds appeared to have been around since the Egyptians pyramids were built.

Yet, deep in the heart of the most pathetic looking seed is life. Hidden deep inside, under a crusty exterior, are the beginning of a root, stem, and leaves. Outward appearances are deceptive, especially with seeds. What seems useless has a power to multiply beyond all the strategic plans of Fortune 500 companies.

​Gain by Losing

Furthermore, from a mechanical perspective, it seems odd that in order to proliferate and increase, we must “throw away” perfectly good seeds that could be used for food. If we consumed all our nuts and kernels and left nothing to toss into the ground, there would be no new crops. In a strange and marvelous law of nature, we receive by discarding. We gain by losing.

That’s true in the spiritual world as well. Jesus once said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24). Paul also explains, “What you sow is not made alive unless it dies” (1 Corinthians 15:36). Just as Christ gave up His life in order that a fruitful harvest of people might be saved and brought to heaven, so also we must die to our own self-centered way of living and humble ourselves.

There’s a law that you can count on that goes like this: When you give up yourself, you save yourself. When you sacrifice your own selfish ways, you preserve your own life. Giving produces living. Serving others and “throwing away” our own agendas and preferences in deference to helping people results in the fulfillment of Jesus’ words: “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).

You can learn a lot from dead seeds!

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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