On the third day God designed the plants and fruits. The sweetness of an apple, the tanginess of an orange and the beautiful scent of a rose were all created on this day. The might of the oak tree, the grass’s vulnerability and the tenacity of the vine all came into being. The vegetation God created was unique, there was nothing like this on the first and second day. Land cannot reproduce. Water cannot be multiplied. But plants and fruit can continue to live on and leave a legacy. “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:12, NIV).
Though plants and trees are unique and more complex than anything that was made before, they also are dependant on what was created before them. Through the land vegetation was produced. And in this we see God has bound plants and trees to the land. There is no way to separate them. Vegetation without soil cannot live. And we also cannot grow and reproduce without a land that God has given us. The Lord wants us to be settled in a place, especially a local church, where we receive nutrients, stability and water to grow.
Unfortunately many people are not content to dwell in the place God has given to them and thus cannot grow. Consequently, they never bear much fruit. Others do not want to move an inch even though where they are planted hardly gives them nutrients and water. They wither away and die because they are not willing to be like Abraham and go to the land God has chosen for them.
On this third day God creates the power of reproduction and teaches us the law of reproduction. Reproduction occurs only according to its kind. If you plant orange seeds you do not harvest apples, and if you sow mango seeds you are not going to be picking lychees. This principle is true for fruit as well as for animals and human beings. I always remember Richard Crisco teaching us during the Pensacola Revival, “You teach what you know but you reproduce who you are!” As a church we cannot expect radical on-fire disciples if we are lukewarm. If we are worldly we will produce worldly converts. Conversely, if we are holy we will not produce a propunderance of worldly converts. In the end God is not going to measure the quantity of our fruitfulness as much as the quality: he is looking for good fruit, fruit that will last. I believe many churches and ministries will be surprised when the vastness of their ministries and the multitude of their disciples really amount to something very small in God’s eyes.
Fruit tells us much about the tree itself. It reveals to us whether the seed as well as the soil is good or bad. Jesus also taught us that by examining spiritual fruit we would be able to discern the true from the false. “Every tree is recognised by its fruits” (Luke 6:44). We really need to guard ourselves from testing things by financial and productivity reports. We also need to keep ourselves from judging a ministry by their doctrinal confessions. These things have their place; I sure do not want to go to a church that does not believe salvation is by grace through faith. But everything can be made to look good on paper but not hold much weight when the fruit is examined. What type of disciples are our churches producing? What kind of ministries are our Bible Schools birthing? If we are fixated on numbers and outward performance they also will have the same problems. But if our goal is that the love of Christ is formed in their hearts, no matter how large our ministries are, we will produce good fruit. And in the long run good quality always leads to greater quantity.
Prayer: Father, may we be rooted and planted in you and the place that you have called us so that we may bear much fruit for your glory. We repent for our lack of fruitfulness. Make us into good trees that bear good fruit, in Jesus’ name.