How strange to see a tree growing out of the remains of another! This tree grows in the Cathedral Grove of Vancouver Island. But throughout our Pacific Northwest, nurse logs can be seen. When a whole row of trees are growing in a perfectly straight line , they are probably marking the place where an old tree fell. These chunks of dead wood become cradles for new life! That is because they give a head start to young seedlings as they decay, providing water, moss, leaf litter, disease protection and nutrients.
Today’s verse includes the same principle of having more impact dying in the service of others than living for one’s self. The next verse explains that those who love their lives, lose them. But the one who hates his life will keep it. The nurse log has literally died as has the kernel of wheat in our verse. However, our dying as believers has more to do with giving up rights and privileges in serving others. Picking up our cross and following Jesus involves the daily denying of ourselves in the interest of others (Mark 8:34).
This is just as hard as it sounds and for me, proves to be a daily struggle. My needs, my wants, my preferences…. I am not to hold on to them too tightly. If by putting myself second I can encourage someone else, than I am being a “nurse log.” Enough of these selfless acts will add up to creating a legacy that lives on even after my actual death!
Lord, make me a servant today!