Part 3 “A Fruitful Life”
Being “fruitful” is often mashed together with “mutltiply and fill the earth”, but they are not the same thing. As I will write about in a later post, marriage and children do not necessarily make one fruitful. There are categories of singleness that allow for an even more fruitful life in the Kingdom than marriage. Jesus and Paul both mention them. (Matthew 19:12, 1 Corinthians 7) Protestants, due to our general reactionary bent, in an attempt to not be Roman Catholic, do not often write about or think about these subjects very well. What of those who cannot bear children? What of those who choose to live the life of a “Eunuch” for the Kingdom? I’ll leave these questions for another post, but suffice it to say that marriage and children, or “multiply and fill the earth”, are not the same as fruitfulness.
What is fruitfulness then? We are take dominion on the earth by doing the good, not by simply trying to do no harm to others. We are to seek the good of others. We are to be givers and not takers. This means personal self-sufficiency and the care for one’s own life is paramount. If there is no physical impediment, we are to provide abundance for ourselves and for others, since there are those who cannot care for themselves. Children, the elderly, those with special-needs, or those relocating due to famine, war, or disaster are in need of subsistence. Self-sufficiency is not something to be done out of pride. I am not calling others to pursue individualism. Fruitfulness is to live a life that considers how we may best do the good and provide for ourselves and those that are in need.
We are not to live in our parent’s basement. We were not put here to take up space like a mushroom on a rotting log. Being fruitful means bearing fruit. A tree that bears fruit has endured much. Storms and withering heat have tested it and caused it to put down deep roots. Fruitfulness involves being faithful, stable, and dependable. It is to grow, endure, and ultimately to mature into a person capable of reproducing our life in others. When God mandates that humans be fruitful as part of carrying out dominion in Genesis 1:28, the very next verse he reminds them that
“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” (Genesis 1:29)
A tree that is fruitful is a tree that can reproduce its life and provide abundance., For humans, who are not like inanimate trees, this has as much to do with our spiritual life as our physical life.
Fruitful people build a legacy of loving relationships and good works. I have been to many funerals where only a few people came to pay their respects. And those few came out of obligation not devotion. The person who had passed was bitter and unforgiving. They were takers who sucked the life out of the few healthy relationships they had once had. All that was left in their wake was a fragmented family and an even more bitter, in many cases, next generation. I have buried people in my own family who, upon their death, simply vanished. No spouse, children, career, real friends, possessions, or any other sign that they had once been among us.
We are to be fruitful. This is the first of four “Creation Mandates.” It is key to understanding what the Bible means when it says we were given “dominion” on the earth, and the rest of the “Creation Mandates” follow from it. Go forth in repentance and give yourself to being a fruitful person, faithful, stable, and dependable. Provide stability and a pattern of good works that others can follow. Build a legacy of truth, beauty, and goodness. Do good in every way in which God has gifted and called you. And above all, “do not grow weary” in doing it, “for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Soli Deo Gloria,