Be Fruitful and Multiply is a two-part series that will serve as a taster for our up-coming Student Ministry Workshop in Atlanta. This post focuses on “Be fruitful”.
“Be Fruitful and Multiply”; this is the initial call and command that all of creation received. It is so profound that it is still reverberating through every living thing today. All of creation has a base desire to answer this call, to actually be fruitful and to multiply. Where we find this proclamation is in Genesis 1 just as the voice of the Lord first speaks to his prized creation, humanity. He gives Adam and Eve these instructions just after He has created and blessed them.
27. So God created man… 28. And God blessed them.
And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply”
Therefore, this is literally the first thing that our Heavenly Father says to us, before anything else this is what he asks of us. I think that everything after this in the story of humanity is an explanation of this first proclamation and humanities journey to understand it. The call is seemly simple, however as we try to understand the weight of it, we begin to see it’s true depth.
“To be fruitful and multiply” has a two distinct parts, the first to be fruitful and the second to multiply. In a discipling movement we know the necessity of multiplying our lives as it is how we can see the expansion of the Kingdom of God. However, we can loose sight that multiplication always starts with producing fruit. Jesus speaks to the production of fruit at the end of the Sermon on the Mount as He is teaching his disciples and the masses He says:
17. it says “So, every healthy tree bears good fruit,
but the diseased tree bears bad fruit”.
This is what I know then; a good God must have been calling us to produce good fruit and what Jesus says to His disciples is that only healthy trees produce good fruit. Jesus goes on to say that if you are healthy it is inevitable that you will produce good fruit, you can do nothing else. The root understanding of “being fruitful” is the call to be healthy. Health and fruitfulness must not be separated. We can’t expect to be able to produce good fruit, without attending to our health. But wait a second, what does it mean to be “healthy”. I don’t think that it has anything to do with being able to run a 5K or how many crunches I do. My understanding of health is much more about what we are nourished by. The health that Jesus is speaking to is about our relationship with His Father. Are we receiving our nourishment from a deep relationship with God? When God calls us to health, He is always calling us into deeper relationship with him. He knows that the healthiest place that we can be is in closest with Him.
So how can that shape our thoughts about “being fruitful”. I think we need to stop thinking that being fruitful has anything to do with us doing anything through our own strength. An apple tree can’t work harder to be able to produce fruit, all it needs to do is to be healthy and it will be fruitful. Let us not miss the inverse to this truth, unhealthy or diseased tress will still produce fruit, it will just be bad fruit. The call isn’t to just simply produce any kind of fruit, but to produce good fruit, which is why we there is a call to being healthy. In simplicity: the production of good fruit is directly related to the health of the being. Its not about doing more, but instead it is about receiving our health from our relationship with the Lord. The production of fruit is all about our Covenant Relationship, instead of our Kingdom Responsibility. I don’t think The Lord ever wanted us to think that the production of fruit is something we can do our own. We should think of fruit more like the by-product or gift from a healthy relationship with our Creator.
Keep an eye out for Part II coming out later this week!