A Grain of Wheat
By Yongyeun Lee
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
(John 12:24 NRSV)
I was born in South Korea and came to America thirty years ago with my wife and a six-month-old baby. I have two sons. Recently, my second-born son, Ben, got a new job and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. He quit his job and became unemployed for more than a year during the pandemic. He sometimes complained that he didn’t have a role model in his life. We had few relatives or friends in the United States. Since we did not have a lot of supportive relationships, our children have met good role models.
Meeting a good model in life is God’s blessing. I met a good spiritual teacher when I was in seminary in Korea. Born in Massachusetts, Rev. Dr. Edward Poitras graduated from Yale University and Drew Divinity School and came to our seminary as a professor. He taught English and church history. As a professor, a pastor, and a friend, he taught me the life of Jesus through his life. At the age of twenty-seven, he gave up his own dreams and devoted his time and energy to teaching students in my country, which was ruined after the war.
He lived a frugal life and fought for social justice and human rights against Korea’s military dictatorship. After thirty-six years of living in Korea, he returned to the United States and taught theological students. I came to the Perkins School at Southern Methodist University where he was teaching to study more. Meeting him changed the direction and purpose of my life. And even now, I am doing ministry while thinking about his life. Jesus is invisible to our eyes, but people see him through us. Just as one person is changed through Jesus, his life changes others, and he makes disciples of Jesus. I hope that people meet the living Jesus through us, and they will be disciples of Jesus Christ.
My Master and My Teacher, thank you for meeting me on my way and for letting me meet a good teacher. I have learned your love and grace through his life. Just as your life has become someone’s life model, let my life be someone’s model. AMEN!
Rev. Dr. Yongyeun Lee, Pastor
Prospect UMC in Bristol, Connecticut