For the past few days I’ve had the privilege of vacationing in the beauty of the Missouri hills with extended family. Writing this now from our cabin balcony, the view is spectacular: As far as the eye can see are blue skies and abundant sunshine- something my warm-weather loving heart can never get enough of. The rolling green trees outlining the perimeter of the lake form a picturesque scene. But even better than the scenery is the company. I have truly been blessed with a family whose members are kind, thoughtful, intelligent, generous, and fun-loving. Yet more than that, they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.
During these beautiful vacation experiences I can’t help but wonder if this is a glimpse of what life will be like in the new heaven and the new earth. With a finite mind, it’s difficult to imagine something better than my current here and now! But like a child who can’t fathom how the ocean differs from a puddle they enjoy splashing about in, is my ability to imagine what God has in store for those who are His children. But like a good Father, God, in His grace through His written Word, has been revealing to me His infinite generosity. He indeed is the Great Multiplier.
Multiplication was part of God’s plan from the beginning. From the dust He created Adam, and from Adam’s rib, He brought forth Eve. From there he gave the gift and command of multiplication to the first man and woman: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). With this multiplication came the institution of the family, and with it, the creation of generations. During this vacation I have been greatly reminded of the blessing of generations and the wisdom of God in His design! What a blessing to belong to a family line, to learn from the older generation and to pass along that wisdom and faith to the younger.
We see again a mighty multiplication in the establishment of the Church as new believers were added daily in great numbers (Acts 2:47, 16:5). Inspired with boldness and guidance from the Holy Spirit, the new believers spoken of in the book of Acts could not contain their joy for their Savior! And still, two thousand years later, the Church continues to grow through multiplication- from believers sharing the gospel message with those still dead in their sin. Though salvation is from the Lord, what a privilege to be used by Him for the advancement of His kingdom! What a blessing it is to go into all the world, to be a part of the multiplication of the body of Christ.
As I thought of the beauty in God’s design of multiplication, I was reminded of the feedings of the 4,000 and 5,000 recorded in the Gospels. Not once, but twice, did Jesus multiply a humble offering of loaves and fishes to more than satisfy the hungry crowds. The 7 and 12 leftover baskets attest to this. So great was our Lord’s multiplication that thousands of people were fed and completely satisfied! While this was a demonstration of the infinite power of God, what strikes me is the motivation for his action- this was a multiplication fueled by compassion (Matthew 9:36). As with the gifts of multiplication of familial generations and the church, this multiplication was an example of God’s desire to bless and care for His creation.
Still, Psalm 40 speaks of another multiplication- how God has multiplied His wondrous deeds and thoughts toward us (Psalm 40:5). Far too often I assume my heavenly Father looks upon me with displeasure or indifference. And yet, this verse reminds me that His thoughts toward me are greater than I could possibly know. Yes, He knows our sin. But in Christ, we are forgiven and these sins are no longer counted against us. Imagine: not only does He mercifully forgive, but our God multiplies His wondrous deeds and thoughts toward us. This is all grace upon grace, totally unmerited and undeserved. As His children, He lavishes His love upon us; a love that multiplies and never subtracts.
In light of God as the Great Multiplier, I am filled with confidence in His goodness and loving kindness. Truly, He delights in giving good gifts to those who can never be snatched from His hand, both in this age and in the age to come. As I once again consider eternity in the new heaven and the new earth, I have a sure hope in the words of Scripture- that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us which is incomparable to anything we have heard or seen in this world. There we will reign as heirs with Christ and bear witness to His glory unveiled. For eternity we will be the recipients of grace multiplied.