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The way a plant germinates to reproduce has a remarkable lesson for us. If a seed never dies, it will never grow. So farmers depend on rain to hasten the seed’s death; then it sprouts, grows, and produces. Jesus used the image of a sprouting seed to tell us that unless He died, there would be no life for all humanity. As He drew near the time of His death, He agonized over what lay ahead. In John Chapter 12, He expressed His anguish by saying, “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’?” Then He answers His own question: “But this is the very reason I came!” By this, Jesus tells us there are some prayers we ought not to pray—when we know it violates God’s will. Instead, Jesus prayed, “Father, bring glory to your name.” In other words, “Help me carry out your will.” Since His sacrificial death was so critical in the plan of God to bring salvation to all humanity, He knew He must not back down. Yet I think Jesus intended the illustration about the seed to apply not just to Him, but to us also. If we want our lives to truly be a blessing to others, we too must die to self as Jesus did. For what He said is a universal principle. Death to our own self-centered ambition must give way to God’s agenda—God’s purpose—for us. That’s how we maximize our efforts for kingdom purposes in this world.

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