Jesus replied,â€œThe hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.24 Very truly I tell you, 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.25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.â€ Â Â Â Â Â Â John 12:23-26 (NIV)
Several of my friends have told me that their churches are talking about tithing and pledging and budgets. It’s no surprise that in many groups the attendance dips during this time because members know that they are going to hear some sermons about money and I’ve never heard anyone say, â€œI heard a great sermon today about giving more money!â€ I know that when I was reading this chapter that I heard what God had to say because He did not talk to me about money. But when He got done with me, I decided it might have been easier if He had! How easy is it to write a check?!!
Do I love my life? Jesus is asking me if I understand what it means for me to give up my life. Am I willing to make choices in my life that will please God? Am I willing to give up my way?
Give up my right to be right. Do I have to have the last word in a conversation? Is it important that I convince another that I am right? Is my opinion important to be heard in a conversation? Ouch.
Become invisible and forgettable. Do I know how to do something for someone without their knowing it? Do I give anonymously? A friend shared with me once how much she liked to go to Walmart. (Huh?) She grinned and said she enjoyed walking through the store and just randomly noticing some harried mom or tired-looking senior saint and then just asking God to bless them! No, she didn’t know them but she figured God did and would know how to bless them. It just felt really good to do something nice in the middle of this busy store and she left the store feeling better than when she came in!
My favorite Bible professor said, â€œThe success of my ministry as a teacher is whether I leave you loving God and each other more when I am done.â€ Jesus said it was all about glorifying the Father.
Jesus said as His disciple I must follow Him and, yes that means that I will end up with Him for all eternity in heaven. But first I must follow Him to Calvary. Jesus said, â€œNot my will but Yours, Father.â€ Am I able to say that from my heart without conditions and amendments?
A true gift involves a sacrifice. Jesus paid the whole price for my sins. There is nothing that I can add to that equation. But when I give up some of my ego, offer my time or talent to be used by God in some way without repayment of applause or acknowledgment, I glorify God. I bend my knees in adoration to the One, the only One, who is worthy of all that I give to Him.
We’ve Come to Praise Him written by Richard Smallwood and sung by Lindell Cooley