“BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY”
September 25, 2010
“We’re at ten centimeters!” Babs blurted out excitedly. “The doctor has been called in and they say this may take anytime between five minutes and two hours.”
I drew in a quick cleansing breath and attempted to gather my thoughts. My wife and I had driven 650 miles from our home in Northern California to Vancouver, Washington in order to be with our daughter as she gave birth to her first child, our third grandchild. Because the baby was past due and our daughter is rather petite, her doctor had decided to try and speed up the process. We had been with Trisha in the hospital since mid morning watching her slowly progress over the course of several hours from light, early labor to more productive and intense contractions. It was now mid afternoon and the last examination by the nurse measured her cervix at five centimeters, just halfway to delivery. Sensing this might go on for quite some time I decided to take the elevator down to the parking lot and retrieve a book from our car. Stepping off the elevator on my way back up to our daughter’s room I bumped into Babs bursting with excitement over the news that Trisha had progressed from five to ten centimeters in less than an hour.
“Perhaps this isn’t going to be such a long ordeal after all,” I replied sinking into a comfortable position in a chair in the waiting room and opening my book to the page I had previously marked.
We had barely become settled when Babs received a message on her phone. The message came in the form of a picture taken by our son-in-law, Alex—a picture of Trisha cuddling a brand new baby. Apparently, our daughter had chosen to deliver her child in five minutes rather than wait the two hours we were told it might take. With a squeal of delight Babs raced to the delivery room with her husband close on her heels. Unfortunately, we were kept out of our daughter’s room for an agonizingly long time while little Ava Michelle received her first meal and her mom received the care she needed.
While the minutes dragged on, my thoughts travelled back in time to another delivery room some twenty eight years earlier. Trisha is our second child and she came into the world in a lightning fast, one hour delivery including a frantic rush to the hospital and a desperate call to her doctor who just barely arrived in time. Somehow, the last twenty eight years has seemingly gone by just as fast.
At last the door to the delivery room opened and we were allowed to view the fruit of Trisha’s womb. I cannot possibly describe to you the joy that comes from holding your daughter’s daughter. There is something deeply satisfying about being a grandparent, about realizing your own fruitfulness has given birth to a new generation, and about the hope that even more fruit may lead to more distant generations in the future. Twenty nine years ago a seed of love was planted which God graciously, miraculously caused to bear fruit. Now, thanks to the planting of another “love seed,” that same fruit is bearing more fruit which, in turn, has the potential of bearing even more fruit. It is an unfathomable wonder of God’s miraculous creation, and an indescribable blessing to be a part of it.
“Be fruitful and multiply…” – Genesis 1:28. This was the first commandment our heavenly Father ever gave to mankind and I am beginning to understand the reason He gave it such a high priority. After all, God is a grandfather, several billion times over, and therefore is well acquainted with the thrill of watching His creation bear fruit. I can also, although in an infinitesimally small way, begin to comprehend the joy He must have felt when He watched Mary give birth to His only begotten Son, and the unbearable pain He must have felt when He allowed His Son to be crucified. Yet in so doing, our heavenly Father planted a seed of love which gave birth to a movement which, in turn, has given birth to countless generations who all bear the name of His Son. How thrilled He must be over each individual who is born again into His family!
“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” This is a command which has never been revoked, although it has taken on a much more spiritual dimension. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” – John 15:16. In reality this is still the same command mankind first heard back in the Garden of Eden. And wonder of wonders, it is to be implemented in the same manner, by planting seeds of love and asking the Father to bless them that they might bear fruit.
New births are conceived through intimacy and spiritual births are no different. Intimacy with God’s Son is absolutely essential if we ever want to bear fruit. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5. Intimacy with Christ will fill us with “love seeds” which we are to sow everywhere we go and with everyone we meet.
What, exactly, do I mean by “love seeds”? Seeds of love are sown by doing acts of kindness. Over the years we have learned to bless people by being generous tippers, calling waitresses and bank tellers by name, complementing others when they are serving us, and offering to pray for their needs. Whenever possible we try to meet the needs of others in a physical or financial way making sure they know we are doing so in the name of Christ. We inquire about their health and that of their family members. We let them know we genuinely care about them. Do seeds of love always bear fruit? As our Lord taught us, the soil is not always conducive to bearing fruit. But we are learning to be prolific in scattering our seeds. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” – 2Corinthians 9:6.
When our seeds of love fall on good soil, people fall in love with Jesus, disciples are made, churches are started, our Father’s family multiplies, and the kingdom of God expands. Sometimes a new birth will happen quickly. Other times we may spend years laboring in the delivery room. Though I much prefer the more rapid deliveries, any new birth in Christ is a miracle from Father God. Words cannot express the joy of witnessing seeds of love we have sown bearing fruit, of watching new babes in Christ being born. But greater still is the thrill we feel when these “love children” begin to sow their own seeds of love and a new generation of Christians is born.
Around fifty years ago a seed of love from Christ, planted by my parents, found good soil in my heart and God’s love was reborn in me. Around twenty years ago that seed of love was replanted in our daughter, Trisha. It is our hope and prayer that this seed will again find good soil in little Ava Michelle and, in turn, be replanted in her children. But the Lord has also blessed us with many spiritual children and we pray that they, too, will be fruitful and multiply generation after generation after generation until the day we all stand before our heavenly Father and see for the first time the spiritual family that has been born from the love seeds we have planted. That day will truly be an unfathomable wonder of God’s miraculous grace, and an indescribable blessing for those of us who will be a part of it.
Bill, a child of God sowing seeds of love