Is it a tulip or a bulb?

Around the world the church has been planted. It has grown to become a source of protection, strength and stability in a decaying world. For the first in history, the church is literally found in every place in the world. In some of the most remote areas, the light of the Gospel shines. What an exciting time in missions! All of this happens by the power of the Spirit of God working through human effort (Eph. 4:11).

I have watched people plant flowers. What I noticed is that when they plant a bulb, they don’t call it a bulb. They call it, for example, a tulip. But it doesn’t look like a tulip. It is hidden and seems unbecoming. But they continue to call it a tulip because they don’t look to what they see, they look to what will emerge. The church can seem like that. It may look small or weak, but those who work the field are looking for what will emerge. And what will emerge is nothing short of the beauty that will become the glory of God in the faces of people.

In Matthew 13:31and 33, Jesus expresses this type of emergence when He compared the Kingdom of heaven to the mustard seed and the leaven. In both cases, the emphasis is not on what is, but, what can be. As you know, the mustard seed already contains within it the generative power to become what will emerge. The only thing necessary is the care so that it will grow. The Church, also, like the mustard seed, has within it the power to emerge so that God will give the increase (1Cor. 3:6).

Let us not be weary in mind or in spirit. We are watching what God is doing in our world. Whether you feel like you are just planting bulbs or are seeing the shoots spring forth, know that you are watching for what will emerge. Don’t call them bulbs. Call them tulips.

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