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 (John 12:24). The goal of the Christian life is death…not success. A popular teaching says that if we follow God we will prosper materially. God may, in fact, bless His people materially, but few can make this claim among third world countries. Wealth must never be the goal of a person’s life, only a by-product. A missionary to a middle eastern country said they have a motto among their ministry team: “God does not require success, but radical, immediate obedience.” Jesus’ obedience gained him the cross. It did not gain him popularity among the heathen and the religious or financial success or a life of pleasure. His obedience resulted in His death on the cross. This is the same goal Christ has for each of us — death of our old nature so that He might live through us. That may not sell well among outcome-based Christian business people, but it will result in an eternal reward that far exceeds any earthly reward. “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12). The Christian life is a paradox — the first will be last, death in return for life, praise for heaviness. It requires faith in a God who operates from a different set of values that are sometimes difficult to measure from human standards. Let death work in you a life that only God can raise up.