Stop. Breathe in and out. Narrow your focus.

For a few moments, take in only what is in front of you.

Let your ears be open to the whisper of the Spirit.

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Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Human One to be glorified. I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their lives will lose them, and those who hate their lives in this world will keep them forever. Whoever serves me must follow me. Wherever I am, there my servant will also be. My Father will honor whoever serves me."

John 12:23-26

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Obeying God can be very hard. It is human to want to defend ourselves and protect ourselves from all the hurt that comes our way. We could spend our whole lives this way, avoiding things that are difficult and making decisions based only on what feels good to us.

But Jesus calls us to something bigger than that. When we put our own wishes aside in order to be a good neighbor to others, we will see that what is lost is so much smaller than what is gained. We can help the Kingdom of God to be seen in our world by living in the same way that Jesus did – serving people, even when it is costs our time, our money, or our energy. What dies this way is not lost. It is transformed into something new and good for God.

Ellen Di Giosia

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God, help me to remember that living like Jesus means that losing my life is not the end of the story. Give me strength to know that when I die to myself, you are with me and that it will not be in vain. Amen.

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Now widen your focus.

Let your eyes be open to the whole wide world.

Remember that God’s call to obey is intended for your good.

Ellen Di Giosia

Ellen Di Giosia is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, Tennessee. She is a parent, a spouse, a knitter, a napper, and a proud ex-resident of the great state of Texas.

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