"But someone will ask, 'How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?' Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body... So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable."
(1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42)
There was once an apple seed. It lived on a shelf in a country store. It wasn't the smallest seed on the shelf (that unenviable designation went to the lowly mustard seed. How sad!)... and it definitely wasn't the biggest (can you say, "PUMPKIN!?!")... but that was okay. It liked it's dark black color. And how shiny it was. But mostly it liked its packet! It was a light green packet with black writing and a big red circle on the front.
Week after week the apple seed sat there in his same packet on that same shelf in that same store. Sometimes it wondered what happened to the seeds that left the store, but mostly it just felt content to be an apple seed. Life couldn't get any better than this.
Then one day it happened. The apple seed left the building! Purchased by a farmer, the packet traveled miles and miles away to a big field. Then the ultimate indignity occurred - the apple seed was removed from its packet. No more light green with black writing. No more big red circle. Not it was simply a small (and feeling smaller by the moment) black seed. Heck, it wasn't even all that shiny anymore. Soon it was put in the dirt and buried. Who could have envisioned this ending? All was lost! The seed had been forced to separate from its only protection, and now was shamelessly abandoned by the farmer. Sadly, it resigned itself to the grim reality it saw all around.
Sometime later, something absolutely remarkable happened. The seed split open and new life shot out! Slowly, ever so slowly, it climbed out of the dirt and into the sunlight. And it didn't stop there! It kept going! As the years passed it grew bigger and taller than it had ever imagined it could be. It's shiny black shell had been replaced with lots of brown & green... AND shiny red balls - the same image that had been on the front of its light green packet so long ago - but a hundred times better! Who could have guessed this would happen?
And ever day the apple tree basked in the warm sunlight, drank up the life-giving waters that fell from the sky, and felt content in its transformation.
And God smiled.