By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:8)
The principle of divine multiplication threads throughout the Bible, starting with Genesis and God’s command to ‘Go forth and multiply.’ Yet the full revelation of this part of God’s nature is so often missed because we tend to apply it only to the matter of blessings – and financial blessings in particular, quoting Abraham’s wealth as an example. The divine principle of multiplication provides a fascinating study, a glimpse of the nature of God that is relevant to each and every single thing He does, and all He expects of us.
Inherent in this divine multiplication is the concept of harvest, and with that the analogy contained in the entire harvest process. Throughout the Bible, God has provided us with examples of this process, from a single seed (Abraham) becoming a nation, and beyond that the ‘new’ nation in Christ, and ultimately the establishment and growth of the church from the first seeds (His disciples). It is a principle that is evident in every aspect of nature around us – many plants from one, a single apple seed becomes a tree which provides many apples, each with many seeds.
Multiplication, for God, has never been simply an option. It is a command – go forth and multiply – or, if we look at today’s verse, bearing fruit is the evidence of our discipleship. It is a divine principle that infuses the very nature of life. Anything that is alive will instinctively multiply and bear fruit. It cannot avoid this. Where there is life, the divine principle of multiplication will operate. It’s inherent, instinctual and unavoidable.
This principle works within us, whether we’re aware of it or not, and it works very closely within the analogy of planting and harvest. As believers and workers in God’s kingdom, it’s very easy to get despondent when we don’t immediately see the fruit. We sow and look for the harvest, but forget that each fruit has it’s own natural timing. Every seed has to germinate, take root, emerge and grow before it can begin to bear fruit. So often we abandon our orchards because we see nothing, while God is continuing to work beyond our vision, bringing that planting to fruition.
Another aspect that is often disheartening is that we may sometimes never actually see the fruit ourselves. We are led to plant a seed which, at the time, seems not to have taken root. We are led to move on, but the seed remains, stirring and manifesting life, and one day it brings a bountiful harvest – one others may reap. This is the nature of the Kingdom of God. We work as a body and share the harvest. Today, I might be the hand that plants the seed which another will reap tomorrow. Or I might be the hand that harvests where another’s hand has planted. The harvest is no less bountiful because we don’t see it.
For those of us who are dedicated to the process of fruitfulness for His glory, this is the lasting encouragement. The principle of divine multiplication is an inherent part of the nature of God – the exceedingly, abundantly, far beyond anything we could ask or imagine. It simply is, and will always operate through each and every one of us because He is in us, guiding our work. Our part is the obedience, the putting in of the seed. The rest is up to Him.
It is God who multiplies, not us. Just as He is the one that gives life, so He imbues everything with the inherent truth of multiplication. It’s a part of the life He gives, the visible, tangible evidence of life in Him. My multiplication is not intended to be visibile to me, but rather to others. Like the apple tree, which has no thought at all to how many apples it bears, we are simply to do – be obedient – and allow God to do the rest. Whether we see the harvest or not is irrelevant, because the principle of divine multiplication cannot be removed, altered or hindered. It is part of who God is.
It is, unfortunately, pride and insecurity that prompts us to measure the harvest – to count our fruit, rather like David and his fighting men. It runs against our human nature to simply plant and leave the field in God’s hands. We want to be ‘hands on’ every step of the way. But it is the right of Lord of the Harvest alone to determine the nature and extent of the harvest, and to decide who to place in His fields and when. The beauty of it all is that everyone will see a harvest, the fruits of their labours, but it’s not always where and what we expect it to be.
Only God knows the future of the seeds we plant. I may think I’m planting apples, when in actual fact He intends a harvest of plums. I may labour today, feeling that I labour in vain and questioning the leading of God, and tomorrow may discover that a single seed has found its way into another field which produces a mighty harvest unlooked for. The real joy in the principle of divine multiplication is that, though we seldom know the outcome, it always exceeds our expectations. Let us work then, in faith and obedience to His instruction, knowing that His life in and through us will always manifest in multiplication. He is God, and will do no less than the fullness of who He is.
Thank You, Lord, for the awesome privilege to be workers in Your fields. Help us to hear Your voice, to be obedient to Your instruction, and to act in faith, knowing that Your heart is always to multiply the seed. Help us to never set restrictions or limitations on Your work through our perceptions or expectations. Rather, let us rejoice in the sure and certain knowledge the life You give is one that will always bring a harvest of grace and glory to You.