John 12:24-25: “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.”

Farmers bank on sowing and reaping. They throw wheat kernels onto the tilled soil to see new plants shooting up.

Now imagine you and me being a kernel of wheat. We sit somewhere in storage having a conversation. Our names are (for lack of a better idea) Kern and Vern.

“Hey Vern”, Kern says. “You awake?” – “Not sure that I want to be,” replied Vern. “Today is the day we are going to die.” – “Yeah, I was up all night too. They are going to take all of us sitting here, high and dry, and bury us in the ground.” – Yes, replied Vern, and to make matters worse, they are going to pour water over us. No more high and dry. Try low and wet!”

Kern and Vern sighed until they were interrupted by a raspy voice coming from a neighboring sack of grain that looked half empty. His name was Rascal. “Hey, you crybabies”, he said. Kern and Vern were slightly offended. “What do you mean crybabies?! Nobody broke the news to you? Today you are going to die!” – “You think I don’t know that?” the raspy voice answered. “Last year I was headed in the same direction, but for some reason they didn’t scatter all of us. We are the leftover grain from last year. I’m telling you, do not worry about it!” – “Oh come on!” protested Vern “You know we are as good as dead. The fact that you got spared last year does not mean you get lucky this time around.” – “What you don’t know,” the raspy voice continued, “is what happens after we are buried in the ground.” – “Sure I know” defiantly Kern chimed in, “they are going to take the water hose and drown us in water.” “True”, Rascal said. “But that is not what I am getting at. Did you know that after a short while the dark ground opens up and releases beautiful big mother plants full of new grains, just like you and me? There are many new grains inside of you, and you don’t even know it. You will release them once you are buried in the ground.” – “No way”, Kern and Vern interjected. “Yes way!” Rascal said, and that was the end of their discussion because they heard footsteps approaching, and everybody knew what that meant.

A wonderful storyteller and illustrator, Jesus gives us a great analogy instead of lengthy explanations: the power of a single grain unlocked in a seedbed. There are 50 kernels of wheat in one head of wheat. Once buried in the ground, a grain of wheat produces 50 times more grain, which is a 5000% increase.

Jesus lets us in on a little secret: Solely focused on protecting our own interests, we will arrive at a dead end. Regardless whether we make it in this world and are a professional success story, this is no replacement for knowing our Creator. In His kingdom our generosity more than just pays off – it multiplies many times over. Loving the Lord, our ability to love grows exponentially. Dying to ourselves, we experience the quality of eternal life.