Summary: Using John 12:24 as a text, the sermon demonstrates that the principle of life through death was true in the resurrection of Christ and is true also in agriculture, the Christian life, the resurrection of the Christian and in Christian giving.
THE PRINCIPLE OF LIFE THROUGH DEATH
REVISED JUNE 28, 2006
(John 12:24 NIV) I tell you the truth, 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.
Today I should like to preach concerning a very important Biblical principle of agriculture. Now I am a dumb city slicker. When I was in public school, I was ignorant about, and afraid of, large animals. Whenever I went to my aunt’s farm near Lindsay, Ontario, my relatives, knowing my abysmal ignorance and deathly fear, would tease me almost unmercifully. It was always a trauma to go to the farm. I suppose that I loved my aunt and my uncle enough, and I knew that they loved me, that I would pluck up the courage to overcome the trauma. But it was always a trauma. I was always the brunt of jokes about dumb city slickers. Only one time have I been able to “get back” at my aunt for all the teasing. Some time ago I asked her whether, when a baby bull was hurt, it went to Momma Bull or Pappa Bull. She said “Momma Bull”; and I did not let her live that down. Yes, as a public school kid I feared large animals. It was always a trauma to go to the farm. But now that I have become a teacher of the Bible, I have learned to love farms and all kinds of animals. And I love to hear and tell jokes about dumb city slickers. I know how intelligent one has to be to make a go of farming in today’s world. And I know how dumb, how plain dumb, many city folk can be; not only about farming, but about anything.
You have probably heard about the city slicker patient in the mental hospital who asked the farmer where he was going with his load of manure. The farmer said he was going to put it on his strawberries. The city slicker patient said: “We put sugar and cream on ours, and they say that we are crazy.” That joke is so old that the mould on it has gray hair.
However, there is a similar joke which I love to tell. In this story the farmer is in the mental hospital. As he walks along the inside of the fence around the mental hospital, he comes upon a city slicker motorist on the outside attempting to change a flat tire. It seems that this dumb city slicker motorist has taken off the wheel, has put the nuts carefully in the wheel cover, and then has carelessly stepped on the wheel cover. All the nuts have rolled away and have gone down a nearby grate in the road. The dumb city slicker motorist stands there, scratching his head, wondering what to do. After a considerably long period of time patiently waiting for the motorist to do something, the farmer patient suggests this idea: “Take one nut off each of the other three wheels, use them to put on the tire which you have as a spare, drive to the nearest service station, get four more nuts, and put one on each wheel.” The dumb city slicker says: “That is a clever idea. What are you doing in there?” The farmer replies: “I may be crazy, but I am not stupid.”
Today I would like us to consider together a principle which to the world may seem crazy, but which is not stupid; which, in fact, is very wise; a principle which is indeed the basis of agriculture. The principle is that of life through death.