Life Notes—January 5, 2012
“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. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:22-23
I know this will surprise no one, but I am not a perfect person. In fact, there are some things about the way I am that I absolutely abhor. I weigh too much. I do not get enough exercise. I eat too much, too often and too many unhealthy foods. I am not a good listener—I try to finish other’s sentences and, too often, am formulating a response before they have finished speaking. I am quick to judge, but stubbornly defensive when judgment falls on me. This is not a complete list of my failings, but you get the picture. And what do these negative traits have in common? They are all my fault. The good news is, because they are my responsibility, I can do something about them. They all result from a lack of focus on something of greater importance.
With the New Year many of us make resolutions. We visualize and verbalize the differences we want to manifest in our lives, and we commit to making this be the year we lose that weight or we repair that relationship or we become more faithful in our spiritual life. And, more often than not, we fail—sometimes miserably and quickly.
I believe the scripture passage above holds one of the keys to my failed attempts at change; and maybe to yours, too. In order to achieve something new, we must let something else die. A grain of wheat, in order to grow into what it was designed to become, must first give up its current form—to be laid in the earth and “die,” before it can move to its next stage of growth—a live, proud stock of wheat that will produce many offspring to carry its “wheatiness” into the future. Likewise, for me to give up interrupting others, I must first give up my obsession to be heard before I’ve given another the opportunity to be heard and understood. If I am to change my eating habits I must take a longer-term look at what and how much I eat. Rather than seeking quick gratification I need to first consider how my body will respond to what I am about to feed it. Part of what has become me must die before something new can take its place.
I would like to grow into a better version of myself in 2012, but I cannot be recreated if I stubbornly hold to the way I am today. And neither can a grain of wheat. And neither can you. True, we are loved the way we are, but we are also called to ever greater states of being. May this be the year we let go of the old so the new can flourish!
Life worship begins at 10:00 AM in Brady Hall, downtown. Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the downtown sanctuary. Contemporary worship at the west campus begins at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. What part of you should die in 2012?
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator