By Dr. Kevin Thomas
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28a)
God beautifully designed every living thing on the planet to reproduce itself. Buried inside an apple is the seed that will give life to the next tree that will bear even more apples. Whether it’s mitosis in the most basic of cells or the miracle of pregnancy and birth in humans, God mysteriously provided for the perpetual reproduction on life on planet earth. God intends for life to “be fruitful and increase in number.”
What is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world. Just as our physical bodies reproduce life, our spiritual bodies are also designed to reproduce life. Bananas make bananas, rabbits make rabbits, people make people, and disciples make disciples. It’s in our design. It’s in our DNA. As Christ followers, God calls you and me to replicate ourselves—to produce more Christ followers.
Even when the church takes this command seriously, we too often stop way too short. We tend to minimalize our calling. We talk about decisions, not disciples. We measure ministry by the number of professions of faith, the number of souls added to the kingdom, or by how many people made decisions for Christ. These numbers are important and should be celebrated as surely as we celebrate the birth of a child. But, the real work of reproducing
ourselves occurs in the years, even the decades that follow birth. In daily, mundane routines, through successes and failures, we shape babies into responsible adults who will then repeat the cycle.
Jesus did call the church to lead people to respond to Christ! He also called us to lead, shape, and mentor those lives into disciples that resemble the Master. You and I are to reproduce ourselves. First, that calling requires that we live lives worth imitating. With God’s help, may we so order our lives that they are examples worth following. Secondly, our calling requires that we invest in people, that we pour ourselves into others, leading them to: worship,
work, serve, give, and witness to the goodness of the Gospel. God’s first commandment to the creation was to be fruitful and multiply. With God’s help, may we fill the world with disciples of Jesus Christ!