Our pastor shared this insightful analogy with us today. The ministry center where we live is surrounded by farmland. This year the crop is corn (sometimes it is soy beans). After a long drought this summer, our corn is not looking very good. It is too short, too thin, and, apparently, down. He asked us, “Did you notice that the corn is down?” Many of us are not agriculturally minded, even though we live in farm country, so he went on to explain.
The corn is brown and dry. Most of it is bent over, as if a big hand had come along and flicked it so hard that it snapped right in the middle but didn’t break. It is just hanging over in an upside-down v shape. Evidently this year the stalk is basically hollow and can’t support the weight of the ears. This happens during a drought because even though the corn isn’t getting enough moisture, the stalk knows that producing ears is what corn is supposed to do. It’s the name of the game, Charlie says. So that stalk just gave everything that it had to make ears of corn, to the point that it emptied itself completely. The stalk spent so much energy on producing the ears that now it can’t even hold them up. That is a picture of self-sacrifice and deliberate emptying of self.
My husband just returned from a leadership conference and that was the message he came home mulling over. Not in farm terminology of course. He is inspired to give more of himself to our family, our church community, and the world at large. He says Jesus gave everything away: his time, his love, and his revelation. We should do the same. So, while Charlie preached this morning, Dan and I took that analogy as a personal reminder to be generous givers. We’ll just look at each other and say, “The corn is down.”