Do you look forward to the season of corn/maize yearly? I do!
Of all seasonal crops, the zea mays season is one I eagerly await. ‘’Well, that is your sentiment’’, someone might say. I agree*smiles, of course, everything has a starting point. I want to say that the liking of the season has been made prominently an anticipated one for me due to a whole new understanding that broke loose on me some five years ago at an annual ‘love feast’ we celebrate in my church at Ondo town, Ondo State, Nigeria, Africa. The feast is tagged CORN FEAST and the anchor scripture for it is John 12:24(KJV).
Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
I was planting corn alongside my mum on our farm earlier this year and discussions propped up in my heart on that verse of scripture. I realised that farmers (I for one), have this ready mind set when they set out to plant, of the hope of a harvest at the end of the day. Yes, they have to be diligent with planting in terms of making the soil ready, ensuring the seed is right and the weeding cum watering have to be accurate but all these are done because harvest is anticipated. So, the diligence and joy of their planting is not the seed going into the soil or just the process the seed is going to go through from germination to growing but the harvest that they are going to reap at the end of the day. I can say therefore that, it is ‘more of harvest being the reason for planting’ rather than ‘planting being the reason for harvest’.
There and then it came to me like a flash that, to bring forth much fruit is the reason the seed had to fall into the ground and die not the reverse.
‘’… but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.’’
This scripture was spoken by the Lord Jesus of himself. His reason for coming was because the Father has a purpose to accomplish which is to give His Life to man-John 10:10, ‘…but I have come to give life and life in abundance’; taking man’s life, his corrupted, subject-to-fading-away mortal life from him and giving him His own eternal, immortal, incorruptible Life. To achieve that there has to be a termination of an existing life so that a new life can begin, a new life void of influence of the old one. DEATH became the process for LIFE to begin. Isn’t it unbelievable? What a mystery! Hebrews 2:9-10 affirm the truth that Jesus had to die for Life to begin and then that Life will be given to as many as believe. This represents the fruitfulness of the seed that is sown and died. When it germinates and grows, it is no longer the seed that falls initially but a new life entirely emerges, and this newness of life causes a bringing forth of many other seeds in cobs, and cobs in stalks.
‘’But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.’’
This knowledge made me understand more why it has to be by dying that God’s Life is passed to us. What happens in the ground is a whole lot of work. Though it may look like nothing is happening on the outside but a lot is going on inside. Jesus was in the belly of the earth for two days and it looked like all hope was gone but there was something going on. A force, a power was working right in that realm of darkness that later caused him to triumph, rising on the third day. That power that made Jesus conquer grave and took the keys of death from the devil is the Resurrection power; the Power of the Life of God that He purposed to give man. That is why whosoever will believe in the Son of God, that he came for the purpose of giving that Life and he died to be able to give it will have that same Life.
So, Resurrection is not only being raised from the death, it is the TRANSLATION into a new Life by terminating an existing one. The power that causes that to be in a man who has believed Jesus is the Resurrection power. Jesus declared in the book of John 11:25,’’I am the Resurrection and the Life’’. Jesus is the total process we need to go through and at the same time the Destination we need to get to. His ‘falling into the ground and dying’ brought about the bringing and raising of many others which include you and me; the Church of Christ in general unto Glory. Halleluyah! Therefore, FRUITFULNESS cannot be overemphasized if truly we are called children of God, for our fruitfulness shows that we too are ‘falling and dying’ to FLESH, SELF daily.
‘’What kind of love can a man show his friend than to die for them’’ is the kind of Love portrayed in the corn falling to the ground and dying so that it won’t abide alone or remain fruitless; abiding alone terminates continuity or the hope of birthing another generation.
It is important we know that the more we die to our ‘self’, the more of God’s LIFE we attain and the more others will get the same LIFE through us. So, what is it are you holding tightly unto? Apostle Paul said, ‘if my eating will make my brother sin, I’d rather stop it than losing my brother’. That is someone who has his focus on Life, fruitfulness. Rather than being bent on doing what he feels is right to himself or maybe complaining, he’d rather go through that process to avoid ‘abiding alone or becoming unfruitful’ because he has his eyes on the ‘Harvest-Life’ that is going to be added to himself first and activated also in the brother. We have been given LIFE by the death of Jesus so that we can by also dying or carrying our own cross daily, give to others the same Life. And the chain goes on and on, birthing generations of people living and giving God’s Life on earth till he comes.
The lessons embedded in the mystery of the corn is one that is inexhaustible. The only way we can attain Life for ourselves and give the same is by dying and dying becomes easy if we have our focus on the Harvest-ETERNAL LIFE, the way the farmer plants with a registered hope of abundance in his subconscious.
Looking unto Jesus the Author and the finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
That is our role model, the pattern, the Life. If he can do it, there is no stopping us. So, as corns are planted, so also we are to be planted by the Holy Spirit, die the way the corn has to die and be raised as a new life ready to give the same life to others, the way a seed of corn emerges from the soil and grows up as stalk bearing many cobs of seeds on it. Isn’t it beautiful and breath-taking?
Therefore, the next time you eat a corn with so much pleasure and relish, think of yourself as a corn also that the Father can pick anytime, one He enjoys and derives pleasure from; and I do not think there is anything as fulfilling and rewarding as giving God pleasure. Halleluyah!