Multiply by Dividing

We have a rather large vegetable garden, about 40′ by 100′, with a seven-foot fence around it to keep from sharing all the produce with our resident deer herd.  Just inside the fence, and all way around the garden, we have daffodils and tulips. It had been a few years since we dug them, so last fall we did so, and ended up with numerous wheel barrow loads of bulbs–thousands of them. We dug a trench and replanted with bulbs and also planted about a forty-foot row along our lane, but gave big bags full to as many as would take them. Lincoln County should be bursting in narcissus, daffodils and tulips this spring!        Bulbous plants, like daffodils and irises, propagate by sprouting baby bulbs off of a mature bulb. For a while those babies can grow right next to the mother plant and thrive. Some of the clumps we dug were so big that it took a shovel on either side to pry them out of the ground. As the clump of bulbs gets large, the new bulbs remain tiny and produce smaller and fewer blooms. That is why you are supposed to occasionally dig them, and divide them up before replanting. The wise gardener separates bulbs frequently to insure big, beautiful blooms, and there are always plenty of extra bulbs to share with neighbors and friends.

     What a perfect illustration of what happens when Christians spend most or all of their time congregating with other Christians and not branching out among the unsaved to share their lives and the Gospel of Christ. We tend to become cloistered together, hiding from the world of the unsaved, and don’t grow and multiply and bloom like we could and should.  Not only are we not spreading the Good News as we are commanded to, but we also tend to start bickering among ourselves.
     The Bible and church history are full of examples of God separating His people for their good and His glory. He sends missionaries away from home and allows persecution to spread us out. When Jesus was about to ascend back to heaven, He told His disciples “not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised” (Acts 1:4).  In the Upper Room, prior to His arrest and trial and crucifixion, Jesus said to them: “These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (Jn. 14:25,26). Then, just before He ascended back to heaven, Jesus said…“but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts. 1:8). 
     The Holy Spirit came, just as promised, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), and the Disciples received the power of which Jesus spoke. Some 3,000 Jews who were in Jerusalem for the feast got saved and the Church was born. More were being added daily (2:46-47). They were having a fantastic time gathering for Bible study, communion and fellowship. In fact they were enjoying the gatherings so much they forgot all about what Jesus had told them to do, to take the Gospel to the surrounding areas and ultimately to the far corners of the earth. So, God had to separate them to continue His program of building His Church world-wide. We read in Acts 8:1-4: “And Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him (Stephen) to death. And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…Therefore those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.” 
     It’s much more comfortable and “safe” spending time with our Christian friends, and we need that–in fact we are commanded to “not forsake our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another”–but we must not neglect our “marching orders.” There is a world of unsaved people out there which desperately needs some “Good News.” And we don’t need to wait for Him to move us to a distant country.  Right where we are, we can develop intentional, healthy relationships with people who are outside God’s family, loving them to Christ. In other words, bloom where you are planted, but be sure you are having interaction with some unsaved folks. Don’t spend all your time with your Christian family. Build bridges of relationship with others and pray for God to open doors, open hearts and then open your mouth!  Wherever God “plants” you, consider it a divine appointment to share His love and forgiveness with those with whom you come in contact. Don’t wait for the “fires of persecution” to catapult you out to minister to others.
                          Forever His,
                            Pastor Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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