Posted: 22 Mar 2012 05:31 AM PDT
"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" (John 12:24).
Once again, using the everyday examples of nature around us, Jesus explains why he must die. It's a story of sacrifice. When a grain dies, it produces seeds, and the life cycle is continued—just as Jesus died so that we may have everlasting life.
We can look in our own lives to know how our everyday sacrifices bear fruit. Good parenting, for example, is the model of giving up our personal time, resources, and energy to the little ones in our lives. The more we sacrifice for our children, the stronger and healthier our family becomes.
If you're single or aren't inclined to the traditional role of parenting, you can still sacrifice for a child. Great mentoring programs exist, experienced teachers nourish future generations, and churches develop great programs to educate our youth. Volunteer where you can. A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself!
Mother Teresa, in all her greatness, also distilled wisdom to the simplest of elements. "Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person," she advised. There are countless young adults living in single parent homes who look for mentors to guide them, shape them, and give them confidence and support. Be the seed of sacrifice for them!
We can be that missing mother or father to a young person crying for help. Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life, but we can sacrifice in smaller ways for the next generation. Jesus' message in this passage wasn't just for Jews. He was speaking to all people. We can't allow social or racial differences to become a barrier to the gospel.
Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." Give up your time, your coins, your love, and your attention to the next generation, because that's what Jesus modeled for us.
Let this season of Lent help us reflect on the sacrifices we can make for others in our lives. Amen.
Richard C. Harper, deacon and Stephen minister