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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

A Corn of Wheat

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. ~John 12:24


Jesus drew from common everyday activities and matters of life as symbols for spiritual application. He used parables, people, and practical things that everyone understood to profoundly drive home a spiritual point. He spoke of a law of the harvest. He spoke of how wheat produces more wheat. He spoke of an essential for the reproduction and perpetuity of wheat. It is an essential for productivity in the Christian life that we overlook as we seek to serve the Lord.

There is the picture.

Jesus spoke of the law of harvesting. The growth, cultivation, and garnering of a successful wheat harvest demands that individual kernels of wheat fall into the ground and die. As wheat is being harvested, kernels will fall off and make their way into the ground. Farmers are not alarmed or concerned about this loss. They understand this to be an absolute essential. Those kernels that fall off will embed themselves into the ground. They die as kernels of wheat that can be used as food. However, this “death” is essential so that this kernel becomes the seed for new sprouts of wheat for the next harvest.

There is the principle.

Jesus is speaking of the principle of spiritual productivity and usefulness. We are unproductive in our own power and effort. We are like a corn of wheat that is still part of the stalk: we abide alone. There must be a death to self in order for us to attain the usefulness that God wants us to have. In death, there is a cessation. In death, there is separation. A kernel of wheat that falls to the ground is separated from the stalk. As it is embedded into the ground, there is a cessation. Dying to self demands the putting to death of our ways, our will, and our wishes. It is crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts. It is taking “me” out of the equation. It is not what is best for “me,” but what will glorify the Lord. It is not clinging on to the past, but realizing that each step in the journey is resting in the Lord. We must die to everything about us. Then, and only then, can we bring forth much fruit.

There is the product.

Once a corn of wheat has fallen to the ground and has embedded itself into the soil, a marvelous transformation occurs. It starts to develop roots. It becomes dependent upon the rain and rich, fertile soil for it to grow into a healthy stalk of wheat. It becomes a source of life. It brings forth much fruit. The death of self is a daily repeated process. It is the absolute essential requirement in order for us to bear much fruit. There are things that we must die to. There are things we must separate from. Jesus was the corn of wheat Who died for us. Through His sacrificial death, He made life available for every person who believes on Him. Earlier in the chapter, Mary died to self when she broke an alabaster box and poured the very expensive spikenard on Jesus. Her selfless and sacrificial act is memorialized and spoken of wherever the gospel is preached. Jesus summarized how this happens on a personal level when He said, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”

The secret to great productivity in our life is dying to self. It hurts. It is painful. It means rejection. However, it brings forth much fruit. It is an essential law of success for God to use us.

Have a fruitful God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Mark 10-11

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