I am fortunate. I have had a couple of generations before me to show me what reckless love and serving looks like in every day life. My “testimony” to the rest of the world would be boring. When I became a believer at an early age, I internalized what I saw in my grandparents and parents. God first, love others and help as needed. We spent a lot of time at church or in the neighborhoods telling others about Jesus. We were not perfect and we knew we were not perfect. We did not live perfect lives, immune from sinful pride, selfishness, envy, working for the wrong motives, but we knew who to go to for perfect, complete forgiveness. God’s Holy Spirit in us guided, corrected, and led us to the path God wanted. It was up to us to do what He said. We were taught in order to live life for Christ, we had to lay down our lives and let go of what we wanted in order to take up living the great life, eternal life God wanted for us. See, I told my testimony was boring, but not without flaws!
As I grew in the faith, I met many more people in my work as a teacher. I realized many people in our world did not have the luxury of loving mentors and models. In fact, they had just the opposite. Many children watched as dads left moms, moms ran back home to momma, uncles who were abusive, sisters and brothers fight for the affection of their parents, kids who have kids who have kids with knowing how to raise kids. To me, this was living a reckless life. What could I do about it?
Jesus! I learned I could tell them what Jesus did for us, not with words, but with the reckless, unconditional love of Christ while serving the world. Demanding gets us nowhere. I think this is what Jesus is talking about in our next passage. I had to let go of what I wanted to say and do and listen to what God wanted. I had to learn to love recklessly, unconditionally, serving with mercy and grace right where people are while praying for God’s best to arise in them like He did for me. Jesus saves. We merely join Him in His work to help people find and follow Him by showing the reckless, serving love of Christ. We are still not perfect, only Jesus is perfect. That’s why we cannot be the sacrifice for others, only Jesus can. But we can tell them the Truth of who Jesus is and what He did for each of us.
Live for Christ! FOLLOW ME, says Jesus. This is how…
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.
26 “If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.” –Jesus
I turn to Warren Wiersbe, Commentator to explain these words for us;
“Jesus used the image of a seed to illustrate the great spiritual truth that there can be no glory without suffering, no fruitful life without death, no victory without surrender. Of itself, a seed is weak and useless, but when it is planted, it “dies” and becomes fruitful. There is both beauty and bounty when a seed “dies” and fulfills its purpose. If a seed could talk, it would no doubt complain about being put into the cold, dark earth. But the only way it can achieve its goal is by being planted. God’s children are like seeds. They are small and insignificant, but they have life in them, God’s life. However, that life can never be fulfilled unless we yield ourselves to God and permit Him to “plant us.” We must die to self so that we may live unto God (Rom. 6; Gal. 2:20). The only way to have a fruitful life is to follow Jesus Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.” (Wierbe)
This “death” to self comes from our repentance to Christ of our sins. We “bury” the old life and are resurrected to a new life with Christ. Our baptism signifies this perfectly! God leads us then to His best, abundant, eternal life, a life full of His reckless love that leads to a heart with a growing desire to serve in ways that help people to find and follow Jesus, too. Reproduction infinitely and exponentially multiplied! To God be the glory!
John 12:20-36, The Message
A Grain of Wheat Must Die
20-21 There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: “Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?”
22-23 Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24-25 “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.
26 “If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.
27-28 “Right now I am shaken. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”
A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.”
29 The listening crowd said, “Thunder!”
Others said, “An angel spoke to him!”
30-33 Jesus said, “The voice didn’t come for me but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me.” He put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death.
34 Voices from the crowd answered, “We heard from God’s Law that the Messiah lasts forever. How can it be necessary, as you put it, that the Son of Man ‘be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35-36 Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.”
I want to walk in the Light of your reckless, limitless love. May your Light in me be seen by others searching for love, real love. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptations but deliver us from evil and evil’s schemes to bring us down and hinder our growth. I know you will. I trust you. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. Show me your ways and I will walk in them. Thank you for your loving patience with me. I know there is still a lot of work in me to be done by you. I’m willing. I’m yours.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.
Playing the background…Reckless Love by Cory Asbury
Before I spoke a word
You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath
You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-endin’
Reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down
Fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it and I don’t deserve it
Still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God…