I've had seeds on the mind as of late. At the beginning of the Intro to Missions class at AU, Pastor Dwight K. Nelson is typically the featured presenter. Since I took the class twice (without failing; try that one at home), I got to hear his "A seed must die to produce fruit/You have to go out, but you don't have to come back/You are a seed" sermonette; very good, and it prompted my previous blog entry (props to DKN!). At the end of Pastor Dwight’s talk, he gave each of us a small bean as a reminder of our job as a seed.
I kept my bean.
My bean sat on a shelf for 6, 10, 19 months, then hopped an ocean in my green suitcase.
The plan? Plant the bean in my mission field, and use it as a constant reminder of the daily death to self I would need to take.
Step 1: Plant the bean.
I choose some soil near the compost pile, filling my tiny terra cotta pot loosely with the clay-like earth. I moisten the soil carefully, then press the bean beneath the surface. Time for You to do Your thing, God.
Step 2: Observations.
Day 1: Dirt.
Day 3: Dirt.
Well, maybe this isn’t a spring bean, but a summer, fall, or even winter bean.
Day 5: Dirt.
The dirt must be too dense. I’ll see what’s wrong…
I dig the bean up carefully, probing cautiously for tender rootlings.
Just a soggy, swollen, bean.
I replace the dirt loosely, hoping to have rectified the problem.
Day 6: Dirt.
Hmm. I need to check again.
Up comes the bean!
Still rootless and leafless.
After 2 weeks of watering the soil, I finally gave up on my object-lesson-turns-real-life-across-the-ocean dream. What kind of sign is that for my upcoming year? A seed that dies with no fruit; it simply dies, turgid and forgotten...
Unexpected Object Lesson #1:
Resurrection is best left to Jesus. Once you’ve died to self, don’t dig self back up! There’s no better way to uproot the fruits of Christ’s work than to put your self in the middle of them.
Unexpected Object Lesson #2:
Don’t get comfortable. Dying to self might be easy at first; a warm, nourishing environment and all the Living Water you can drink up. But when you refuse to sprout, you simply become soggy and unpleasant. People might not even recognize you as a seed. You’ve deceived yourself into thinking that you’ve died to self, when really, you’ve taken a gift to be shared and hoarded it for your self-righteous self.
When you’re planted, sprout.