Christ’s Object Lessons, pp 86-87: “All who would bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ must first fall into the ground and die.”
“I tell you the truth, 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.” [John 12:24]
A green acorn sits high above a shaded glen in his mother oak’s branches, swaying gently in the breeze. He’s grown faster than all the other acorns, and everyone’s praising his bright future. A private growing academy followed by a full scholarship to Yale School of Sprouting is the perfect path to becoming CEO of his branch of the forest. He looks down at the forest floor below, scoffing at the ancient leaves rotting in the mud. Ah, yes: the life of a young oak seed. The world is before him.
An especially breezy day leaves Young Acorn a bit queasy and distracts him from his lofty dreams. He clings to Mother’s branch more tightly, feeling shakier than ever before. As he has grown, he’s become larger and heavier, and the hot summer sun has tanned him to a deep brown. It’s time to let go, the wind whispers hoarsely. The squall is unrelenting, bobbing and swaying and twisting the oak branch, wrenching loose an acorn that has grown too heavy for Mother’s twigs.
Not-so-young Brown Acorn feels himself vaulting up and away from his branch and plummeting toward the earth below. He lands with a thud, rolling with a bounce away from the base of Mother Oak, sliding through muck and coming to a rest half-covered with the stuff.
If acorns could cry, he would have.
What now? What does the future hold for a small, brown, far from spherical seed buried in sludge? Why couldn’t he return to the company of fellow acorns who looked and thought like him? Why did he fall among the scum of the earth?
Day after day passes for the Acorn, each blurring dully into the next. What purpose is there to think of the future? He feels his husk becoming softer and weaker as he lay in the mud, but has no power to stop it. As the days and weeks pass, Acorn doesn’t notice that his surroundings continue to encourage his growth. He doesn’t notice the bulge in his hull where it has softened. He doesn’t notice much of anything until a sharp pain splits his side, bringing a seedly grimace to his non-existent face. Well, that’s the end, I guess, he thinks. It’s about time. He lies on the earth, looking up at his branch far, far above, waiting impatiently for death’s final blow.
Acorn wakes in the morning, wiggling his toes and yawning. He smacks his absent lips while gazing up at the sunlight, feeling a little bit…Toes? Since when do I have toes? He cranes his stout neck to see what this new appendage is and sees nothing but dirt, though he now feels the cool soil beneath him. Days later, he feels the warmth of the sun as he never has before, rejuvenated as his leaves unfurl toward it.
A wizened oak tree grows high above a shaded glen, fondly remembering the day he died and rose a new creation, and gently rustles his young batch of acorns.