Read: John 12:20-26

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (v. 25)

Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has long sponsored a ministry called Addie’s Diner, Addie being a long-deceased church member whose passion was to feed the poor. Scores of people from the surrounding community, sometimes hundreds of people, come every week to Addie’s Diner for a nutritious, home-cooked meal, with a side order of human dignity. No charge, no questions asked, and we’ll send you home with a box of leftovers. One church member who faithfully shows up to help prepare and serve the meal said to me, “I always come to Addie’s Diner thinking that I am doing a good thing for the poor, that I am blessing them. And I always go home realizing that I’m the one who was blessed.”

The happiest people you know, the people who consider themselves most blessed, are the ones who lose their lives in service to God and others. The corollary to that, of course, is that the unhappiest people you know are the ones who live for themselves, thinking only of their own advantage. They are unhappy, and usually, they are lonely. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone” (v. 24). Selfishness is lonely. People who live to themselves are usually left to themselves. It sounds counterintuitive, but as our key verse notes, only when we die to self, do we truly come alive. —Lou Lotz

As you pray, ask God to live his life through you.