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I was reading about a woman living in Connecticut who was literally crushed to death when the floor of her house, which was piled with clutter – as high as the ceiling in some places – literally collapsed into her basement. Holes in the roof, which leaked water on the floor, probably further weakened the floor. Her body was finally found when crews used a backhoe to remove debris from her home. Authorities figured she may have been dead for more than a week.

The day the police first entered the house, they did not even notice that the floor had collapsed, because all they saw was ceiling-high clutter along the walls and waist-high clutter in other areas. It was not until the next day that officials discovered that the floor had caved in. After making sure that the building was safe to enter, officials cut a hole in one of the walls and then began removing debris with a backhoe. It was not until the next day that they found the woman’s body. She had been killed by and was buried underneath all of her stuff.

What a horrible way to die. To be killed by and then buried underneath all of your stuff. And yet isn’t that exactly what happens to so many people spiritually? They are first killed by and then they are buried underneath all of their stuff.

In John 12: 24 Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it is just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

What is the purpose of an apple? Not just to produce another apple, or even just an apple tree. Rather the purpose of an apple is to produce a whole orchard of apple trees. Every apple has within itself the ability – the resources – to begin a process that eventually can produce a whole new orchard of apple trees.

If Jesus had not gone the way of the cross and died, there would be only one seed. Because He died, there is a whole new orchard. We – the Church – are the result of His surrendered life.

And in Matthew 10: 39 Jesus applies the same principle to us, when He says, “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

What does it mean to lose your life? It means going through the daily grind. Getting up in the morning and doing whatever you do during the day. It means basically living your life for yourself, keeping all your discretionary time for yourself, and spending all or most of your discretionary money on yourself. It means surrounding yourself with a lot of stuff.

What does it mean to find your life? It means being like Jesus, who gave His life. But it is going to cost you something to do that. It will cost you the death of your own self-centered life. In one sense it will cost you everything. But in another sense it will cost you nothing. For loves does not think or talk about cost.

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