The couplet “If the laws of the kingdom you faithfully keep, health, riches, and honor you surely will reap” sums up what many today are teaching. But it’s not true! Multitudes of faithful believers are sick or poor or persecuted. Yet they gratefully worship the Lord, serve Him the best they can, and remain joyful. They can do this because they believe the law of the cross—that by dying to self we produce a spiritual harvest that will last forever.

I read about a man who runs an after-school program for inner-city children. He recruits people to teach sewing, remedial reading, and other helpful skills. He also conducts an all-day school for 6 weeks in the summer, and holds a Sunday service in a church building that he cleans by himself. Hundreds benefit from his work, but an average of only eight people show up for church! He continues, however, because he is motivated by his love for God and the law of the cross, which says that if you die to self and serve others, you will reap fruit for eternity.

The principle that Jesus taught in John 12:24 about a grain of wheat dying before it can produce fruit was fully expressed in His own death and resurrection. We too need to live each day by this law of the cross.