How We Grow

nurturegrowNot long ago, I read a fascinating fact. Actually, it was so fascinating that I had to check its accuracy.

It has to do with Chinese Bamboo. (By the way, bamboo of any kind is like Wisteria, if you don’t really like it for the rest of your life don’t plant it. You can’t have a little bit of bamboo or Wisteria!).

For four years, Chinese Bamboo hardly grows at all. It looks sickly and unproductive. The uninitiated land owner or grower might be tempted to get rid of such a useless plant.

Though it’s puny and pitiful, something powerful is happening underground.

In the fifth year, the tree grows eighty feet!

What’s happening underground is getting the bamboo ready to produce.

You can immediately see the implications for our lives in Christ.

The root comes before the fruit.

We often think that the Apostle Paul went from Christ-hater to great missionary almost overnight. The way the Scripture (particularly The Acts of the Apostles) is put together gives us that impression.

Study the Scripture more closely and you find that it was not that way at all. Before Paul made his first missionary journey, he apparently spent intense time in study and seeking the mind of God. “Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were before, but I went away into Arabia . . . . Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem” (Galatians 1:17-18).

Most scholars would place Paul’s conversion about A.D. 35. His first mission trip was not until the late 40’s.

While we must not wait until we are mature to serve God, we certainly should be nurturing the inner person and growing deep roots in the Gospel.

Like the bamboo, the greatest work is what happens on the inside.

Get the inside right and the outside will naturally follow.

This means we must cultivate our hearts and prepare our lives to produce good fruit.

While we don’t have to know all the answers to be effective in Christ, we can see the need to change the inner person so that the outer person can do effective ministry.

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