So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”… God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.
Genesis 1:27, 28, 31 NRSV
This Bible text has new meaning for me this week. There is the literal interpretation of the text “be fruitful and multiply” meaning to procreate. But what about if we can’t procreate, if we are beyond our child-bearing years or we just don’t want children? Does the text not apply? How about if we look at the text from a spiritual interpretation?
“Be fruitful” can signify fertility, but it can also have a larger meaning. Be useful. Be effective. Be constructive. Be worthwhile. Be helpful. Be beneficial. Be rewarding. Live a life that is well-spent. God is calling us to be productive, valuable, and rewarding.
This doesn’t mean be busy bodies.
Rushing around smartly is no proof of accomplishing much.*
It’s really about acknowledging the productivity that is already part of your day. It is already established. We are just awake and responding to it.
Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing…If one would be successful in the future, let him make the most of the present.*
This reminds me of a time when I was seeking additional employment. I was looking for more expansive ways to use my talents as well as for additional financial income for my family.
I wrote down a list of all the spiritual qualities I felt I expressed naturally. Some of these included creativity, discipline, organization, attention to detail, energy, activity, love of community, etc. You could say I was writing a spiritual resume and becoming more aware of my spiritual identity. I called a friend who lived in another state and inquired if she knew of anyone hiring within our church organization. She informed she did know of someone, and they had just brought up my name as a possibility. When she sent me the job description, it included all of the qualities I had listed on my spiritual resume. I knew it would be a perfect fit. I interviewed for the job and was able to work remotely from my home. I started just a few weeks later. This work continued to be a blessing over the next few years.
The last part of the Bible text states that God saw everything he made and it was “very good”. This “very good” text is particularly noteworthy. Good means beneficial and useful. So, we are beneficial and useful to God, and we are beneficial and useful to the needs of society today.