“. . . unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” – John 12:24
Near our home along the route where we regularly jog in the mornings there exist several deeply wooded areas where beneath the trees there lies a thick carpet of dry leaves ever growing deeper as the colorful fall foliage drifts from the trees. Laying there un-violated by rakes and leaf-blowers, the leaves remain throughout the winter months, decaying and enriching the soil providing nourishment for new vegetation in the forthcoming spring. It is nature’s way of demonstrating how death becomes life-giving. Mind you, it is only the leaves on the trees that die, not the entire tree.
We humans are like that. When a part of our self-centered nature dies it becomes life-giving. When we surrender our addictions or those things we think we can’t live without, we position ourselves to nourish, restore and replenish others, to offer them new life. There is no better example of this than what occurs in Alcoholics Anonymous which is comprised of people who have surrendered their addictions to God through the support of fellow human beings who have walked the same path. It is a beautiful thing how one who has surrendered – that is, died to part of oneself – is able to in turn “sponsor” another through his or her surrender, a dying that becomes life-giving. Lives are recovered, relationships restored, and new ones formed. AA works because one person’s death to a life of addiction becomes life-giving to another by one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread.
Each of us is like a grain of wheat, and until we die to ourselves we remain just a grain of wheat; but if we die, we produce much fruit; our death becomes life-giving, filling our lives and those of others with abundance, meaning, and purpose.
Autumn is such a beautiful time, my favorite season of the year. It is a time when part of nature dies, yet from that death new life is nourished – just like what we do when part of us dies.