In Genesis 1:28 God gave the mandate for man to be fruitful. In fact he said:
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Gen 1:28 NIV
Reading this passage I am struck by it’s relevance to business. I could easily see a CEO standing in front of a whiteboard or projector and saying, “this quarter our goals are to increase production, expand into new markets, fulfill the potential of our new technology, and so forth.”
There is not accidental. The first few chapters of the Bible give the account of an industrious God creating a complex and fruitful world. He then starts a farm (Eden Inc.), puts man on that farm and tells him to work, be industrious and expand the enterprise globally.
Therefore, it makes sense that we would go to the Word of God to find principles for fruitfulness. Let’s look at a few here.
Everything Reproduces After its Kind
“And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.” Gen 1:11
If you are trying to produce a certain result in your life or business you need to consider carefully the seeds you sow and/or who is birthing the thing. We serve a rational God who designed a rational universe where cause and effect are real. So you can expect results that are consistent with the seed you sow and the parentage of a thing. Everything reproduces after its kind.
Another place we can apply this is to the nature and character of leadership. Godly leaders full of gratitude, optimism and initiative will tend to reproduce these characteristics in those around them. Likewise a critical, negative person can reproduce these things in a team.
A limiting factor in this principle is that leaders will often reproduce or gather to themselves others who are just like them. I was recently watching a show that detailed the downsides of certain dog breeds that have genetic weaknesses due to generations of inbreeding: bad eyes in Shar-peis and weak spines in dachshunds, etc. This takes us to the next principle.
True Fruitfulness Requires Teamwork
It took a man and a woman with distinct differences to reproduce. So wether we are talking about reproduction in mankind or in plants it takes differing and complementary faculties to reproduce. You can’t reproduce by yourself.
God blessed them and said to THEM, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Gen 1:28 NIV [emphasis mine]
Now let’s apply this. In life and business you will be more fruitful if you surround yourself with others who compliment you. Who is on your team?
Big Things Do Grow from Small Seeds
This is a word of balance on our first principle as well. We often encounter people in different stages of their journey and in different stages of their fruitfulness. Expecting great fruitfulness from a small sprout is unrealistic. However, that sprout might grow into the biggest producer in the orchard.
Almost all of us are like this to some extent. We have areas of maturity and immaturity. In Numbers 17 the Bible talks about Aaron’s rod that budded. When Moses and Aaron’s leadership was criticized, this was a miracle affirming that Aaron was indeed chosen. When his rod budded it had buds, blossoms and ripe olives. I imagine that some of his critics were focusing on the parts of his life and leadership that were not mature yet.
Alternatively, sometimes you will encounter someone who has potential but they are in the wrong place, or just lacking some key element to become fruitful. There is an interesting parable about that goes like this.
“Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-13:9 NIV
This is a parable about the value and limits of mercy and forbearance. I hope you got that, the value and limits of forbearance.
Blessings Have a Seed in Them
Blessings have a seed in them so eat the fruit and plant the seed.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Gen 1:29 NIV
When something bears fruit we should always ask our self what we can do with the seed. Of course we can make application here with regards to sowing financially into Gospel work, but I want to suggest that there is also the business question of reinvestment into Kingdom business. What portion of your fruitfulness are you reinvesting into your business or into other businesses and being fruitful, multiplying, filling the earth and extending the Kingdom of God?