|Christian Singles living purposefully for Christ!|
(January 28, 2003)
A Matter of Multiplication
By Fern Horst
"And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children." (Matthew 15:34-38)
After reading this passage this week, my father commented that the multiplying of the bread and fish is much like the multiplying of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. Jesus took the bread and the fish, gave thanks, and broke them in pieces and handed them to his disciples. There were enough pieces for each of the twelve disciples to have some. As the disciples broke the food into pieces, there was enough to give to each person in the crowd of four thousand men, plus women and children! It was a miracle that took place as each person passed the food on to the next.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to produce love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23) in our lives, we then in turn pass them on to others. We can't have any of these characteristics in our lives without them touching the lives of those around us. As others are influenced by the fruit in our lives, they in turn pass that fruit on to others as it is multiplied in their own lives.
This principle was evident yesterday as I attended the funeral of a dear friend - a godly lady who helped us with the Purposeful Singleness ministry by answering e-mails. Of the many people gathered there, we'd all been touched by Barbara's life in some way. Some of us were privileged to sit under her very knowledgeable teaching in Sunday School, others knotted comforters with her each month to send to impoverished countries, others prayed with her each week in Wednesday evening prayer meeting, and others were greatly influenced by her godly nurturing as their mother and grandmother.
She had been a widow for the last ten years after a difficult marriage to an alcoholic husband. Those difficulties had pressed her closer to the Lord as she ran to Him and His Word for answers to how to handle the many crises she faced. She recently told me that for the last 40 years she had read five chapters each day from the Bible. This took her through the Bible in less than a year and meant that she'd read through the Bible over 50 times. No wonder she was a walking Bible concordance, as many referred to her! Her son told me yesterday that as a little boy he would play a game with her, where he would try to stump her by mentioning a certain detail in the Bible to see if she knew where it was found in Scripture. He never beat her; she always knew where to find it in God's Word. That son is now a pastor. His influence was reflected in the many people from his church that attended the funeral yesterday. His influence today began when a mother passed on her love for the Lord and His Word to her son, in spite of the opposite influence of his father.
The fruit in Barbara's life, resulting from her repentance as a young woman from straying from the Lord and marrying a man who was not a Christian, has multiplied many times over. I have no doubt that it will continue to multiply for years to come. It would be a sad thing if I, for instance, would ignore the challenge I've received from her life to spend time reading, studying, and knowing God's Word. Because she knew God's Word so well, she was able to pass it on to others in many situations. Only the Lord knows how many times that knowledge and devotion will multiply into future generations.
I, for one, want to be part of the legacy that passes on that type of love and devotion to God's Word. As a single woman, I may not have children. But that doesn't absolve me for a minute of the responsibility of allowing Christ to multiply His work through me, just as He did through the disciples and the multitude of people, and just as He did through Barbara.
If you don't yet have a plan for reading the Bible regularly, I'd like to encourage you to start following the Bible reading schedule we have on the Purposeful Singleness website, on which these devotionals are based. You can read more about it at http://singleness.org/bible/index.shtml where you can also sign up to receive each day's reading by e-mail, and order bookmarks of the schedule to keep in your Bible as you read.
Allow God to multiply His Word through your life. But remember, that
can't happen unless you first devote your time to reading and studying
© 2003 Fern Horst
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