BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
It is sad that many people today are living a life without meaning. I am not sitting in judgment over them – it is not my job. I am only calling attention to how we live our lives vis-à-vis what the Word of God of God says.
The meaning God gives to life, in other words, the purpose of being alive, is more important than the meaning man gives to life. Why are you alive? What did God send you to do on earth? There is a meaning to life. This meaning is the purpose, for which God has created man, and for which you were born. It is not about the number of houses you have, or your fame, or the amount of money and other material things you acquired.
If the record of one’s life is written and there is little or no mention about what one did as regards the assignment given one by God, one has missed it. One has failed in life.
May I say that life remains meaningless, if one has not discovered and is not fulfilling the purpose of God for one’s life. Salvation is the first step towards the discovery of destiny.
Methuselah had a father, Enoch, who at the age of 65 years, decided to walk with God and did for 300years. At the age of 365years, he had a supernatural translation. He was no more. “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:21-24 NKJV).
Unfortunately, his son, Methuselah, lived for 969 years and nothing substantial was said about the man who lived the longest years on earth. The only thing said about him was that he gave birth to sons and daughters. It is true that after God created man on the sixth day, He blessed man and said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…” (Genesis 1:28 ASV). That is what some hold onto as the chief purpose of human existence on earth. That is not true.
Life is more than having children
As wonderful as having children is, procreation is not what gives meaning to our lives. I pray that God will answer the prayer of everyone trusting God for the fruit of the womb. The LORD shall give you your own children. You will not be barren in Jesus’ name. You will be fruitful.
However, there is more to life than being a mother or a father, though procreation is part of the mandates of God for human being on earth. If all that life entails is procreation, I am sorry to say that one may not be better than animals! Why did I say this? Because animals also have God’s blessing to be fruitful and multiply just as He blessed man. Genesis 1:22 says, “Then God blessed them, saying, ‘Let the fish multiply and fill the oceans. Let the birds increase and fill the earth’” (NLT). That was what God said after creating great sea creatures, every sort of fish, and every kind of bird, mentioned in verse 21.
After the flood, God repeated the blessing that the animals should be fruitful and multiply on the earth. God told Noah, “Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth” (Genesis 8:17 NKJV).
If God’s chief purpose for us here on earth is only to bear children, then we may not be better than fish, birds, cattle and other animals. There is certainly more to life than bearing children because God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:27; 5:2; 9:6). God did not create all other creatures in His image. Many people think life is all about procreation and thereby have missed living a meaningful life. They do not read in full the blessing God pronounced on man.
The blessing of God upon man, as contained in Genesis 1:28, is, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (NKJV). Four phrases are very important to look at closely in that scripture. These are: be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion. These constitute the mandate that God gave man at creation, and this mandate is still valid until today.
God wants you to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion. The superior mandate given to man by God is with respect to subduing the earth and having dominion. God did not give this mandate to anything else that He created. Man is the manager of God’s creations on earth.
The Hebrew word translated fruitful is parah (paw-raw’) meaning to bear fruit or to be fruitful. The Hebrew word translated multiply is rabah (raw-baw’), which is to increase. In addition, the Hebrew word translated replenish (KJV), (fill the earth (NKJV), is male’ (maw-lay’) or mala’ (maw-law’), which means to fill or be full of. Kabash (kaw-bash’) is the Hebrew word translated subdue and it means to subject, to subdue, to force, to keep under, to bring into bondage.
The Hebrew word translated dominion is radah, which means to rule, to have dominion, to dominate, to tread down. From this explanation, you can see that man’s mandate is not procreation alone.
Man’s ultimate assignment on the earth is to have dominion on the other works of creation of God. God made man to be master over all other creatures. “God blessed them and told them, ‘Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals’” (Genesis 1:28 NLT).
After the flood, God restated the first blessing He had pronounced on man earlier. Just as He told the animals to be fruitful and multiply on the earth, He blessed human beings to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. “So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’” (Genesis 9:1 NKJV). God spoke the same words to Adam in Genesis 1:28. However, if you read Genesis 9:2-3, you will see God making a difference between man and animals. He gave man dominion over all other things He created. “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs” (Genesis 9:2-3 NKJV). Human beings are principally different from other creatures because God gave man, whom He created in His own image, the mandate to have dominion on the earth – He placed everything in the power of man. In verse 7, God emphasized, “And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it” (NKJV).
Before God created Eve to be a helpmeet to Adam, and they started bearing children, Adam had his assignment clearly defined. Genesis 2:15 says, “The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it” (NLT). He was already doing that before Eve came to join him in the garden. In fact, before Eve came, Adam had named all the animals that God created. “So the LORD God formed from the soil every kind of animal and bird. He brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and Adam chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, birds, and wild animals…” (verses 19-20 NLT).
It was not on Adam and Noah alone that God pronounced the blessing to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. Jacob also received this blessing when God appeared to him again while he was coming from Padan Aram. Genesis 35:10-11 says, “And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.’ So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: ‘I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body’” (NKJV). God introduced Himself to Jacob as the El-shaddai, meaning “God Almighty” or “God all-sufficient”. He then renewed and ratified the covenant He had cut with him earlier.
In Ezekiel 36, God told Prophet Ezekiel to prophesy restoration to Israel. God said, “and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better (unto you) than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah” (Ezekiel 36:11 ASV).
In addition, in Jeremiah 23:3, God said, by the mouth of Prophet Jeremiah, that He would gather, increase and multiply the Jews that were scattered. “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and multiply” (Jeremiah 23:3 ASV).
Having Dominion is beyond procreation
All these scriptures establish to us that it is God’s will that His children be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. Nevertheless, beyond the issue of number, God wants man to dominate or have dominion over the earth. It is possible to increase in number, multiply, fill the earth but never really dominate in the real sense of it. In addition, indeed, it is in having dominion that we really exercise the authority that God has given man to act on His behalf here on earth. The Bible says in Psalm 115:16, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (NKJV).
No wonder, when Jesus was on earth, He operated as a man that had authority over nature and over demons. The storm obeyed Him. Demons obeyed Him. Sicknesses and diseases obeyed Him. He even taught as one who had authority and not as the scribes. He walked in absolute dominion. The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders were so embarrassed that they asked Jesus, “By what authority doest thou these things? or who gave thee this authority to do these things?” (Mark 11:28 ASV).
Jesus said in John 17:2 that God had given Him authority over everyone in all the earth. The Bible says after Jesus was raised from the dead, He was made to sit at the right hand of God in the heavenly (places), “far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:21-23 ASV).
When He appointed His disciples, He wanted them to have the same authority. “And he appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have authority to cast out demons” (Mark 3:14-15 ASV). When He began to send them, He gave them authority over the unclean spirits (Mark 6:7). In Luke 10:19, Jesus said, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you” (ASV). In other words, he had given them authority to walk in dominion over the power of the devil. That is awesome! Jesus walked in that realm when He was on earth. He wants us to walk in that same realm today.
When the seventy (or seventy-two) disciples that Jesus sent out returned from their mission, and joyfully reported to Him that even the demons obeyed when they used His name, Jesus, among other things, said, “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you” (Luke 10:19 NLT). He was talking about dominion over the forces of darkness.
However, dominion over the devil and his cohorts did not end with those who were the disciples of Jesus when He was alive. Jesus ensured that those who will believe in Him later will have dominion over the devil and all his manifestations just as He had when He lived on the earth. In Mark 16:17-18, Jesus said, “And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (ASV).
It takes dominion to experience what Jesus said. He also said that because He was going to be with the Father, anyone who believed in Him would do the same works He did, and even greater works (John 14:12). Therefore, every child of God should walk in dominion, physically and spiritually, because we have God’s promise to do so. We must dominate and not be dominated by situations and circumstances, and especially, by every power of the devil. We must be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and have dominion.
The Judges of Israel who probably were not impactful
The Book of Judges focuses on the people God called to judge the nation of Israel. However, the report about some of them leaves one wondering whether their tenures were, at all, eventful. Rather than providing details about how they judged the people of Israel, the Bible gives us details about their conduct, not related to their assignment as judges.
In Judges 10, the Bible tells us about Jair, a Gileadite, who judged Israel for twenty-two years. There is no word said about how he judged the people. I was not comfortable with that: I, therefore, was curious to know what the man did for twenty years.
Nevertheless, I found no record in the Bible, except what is written in Judges 10:3-5. “After Tola died, a man from Gilead named Jair judged Israel for twenty-two years. His thirty sons rode around on thirty donkeys, and they owned thirty towns in the land of Gilead, which are still called the Towns of Jair. When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon” (Judges 10:3-5 New Living Translation). The only record about this man is that he had thirty sons riding around thirty donkeys and owned thirty towns!
Could it be that the only significant achievement of this judge was that he had thirty sons, who flaunted their father’s wealth, driving what would be luxury cars in our contemporary world? Yet, he was in power for twenty-two years! I hope I am wrong! Did he spend his thirty-two years as judge just having children? We do not know how many he had before he became a judge.
Jair was not the only one. Ibzan was also a judge in Israel. However, the only record about him in the Bible is that he had 60 children – 30 males and 30 females. He sent his 30 daughters abroad and married 30 wives for his 30 sons. The Bible does not say anything about the assignment God gave him to judge Israel. “After Jephthah, Ibzan became Israel’s judge. He lived in Bethlehem, and he had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He married his daughters to men outside his clan and brought in thirty young women from outside his clan to marry his sons. Ibzan judged Israel for seven years. When he died, he was buried at Bethlehem” (Judges 12:8-10 New Living Translation).
What did he do as a judge? The Bible says nothing. Could it be that his tenure was not eventful? Were the seven years of his tenure wasted years or impactful? The Bible does not tell us how many of these children Ibzan had when he became a judge.
However, with sixty children, I do not know how much impact he would have been able to make in the divine assignment given him to judge Israel! I would have loved to read how he was able to cope with sixty children and judging Israel! But the Bible is silent on his activities as a judge.
Elon was also a judge in Israel. The Bible says nothing about him, either good or bad, except that he led Israel for ten years. In fact, only two sentences are devoted to the man, who judged for ten years! “After him, Elon from Zebulun became Israel’s judge. He judged Israel for ten years. When he died, he was buried at Aijalon in Zebulun” (Judges 12:11-12 New Living Translation). I do not know what type of life he lived that the Bible did not say anything significant about him. The Bible gives his tenure a total blackout!
Furthermore, Abdon, an Ephramite, judged Israel for eight years. The Bible does not provide any information concerning the assignment God gave him. The Bible only talks about what his 40 sons and 30 grandsons did. Abdon’s 40 sons and 30 grandsons rode on seventy donkeys – the luxury cars of their day. It was good he got his sons and grandsons expensive cars (donkeys), but what about God’s assignment for him? “After Elon died, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, became Israel’s judge. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He was Israel’s judge for eight years. Then he died and was buried at Pirathon in Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites” (Judges 12:13-15 New Living Translation).
Children, horses or luxury cars, chains of degrees and honours, heaps of material possessions, palatial houses, etc., become vanity when destiny is not discovered, pursued, and fulfilled. This is the true definition of life without meaning; a life lived, not for its purpose. A life full of things but devoid of pursuit and fulfillment of purpose is vanity.
What is the value or worth of your life? Your valuables do not determine your true value. Is the worth of your life in terms of material acquisition and worldly attainment? Your life is worth more than things. Paul said, “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love” (Acts 20:24 NLT).
Your life is worth nothing unless you live it to fulfill the purpose for which God created you. It does not mean that you must become a pastor (though God expects everyone to be born again and win souls). There is God’s purpose for individuals and it varies from one person to the other. So discover God’s purpose for you and devote your entire life to fulfill it. You are not here on earth just to procreate. You must exercise dominion.
Live a purposeful life
Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth” (Mark 1:38 NKJV). Take note of that phrase: for this purpose I have come forth. He knew the purpose for which He came to the earth and would not allow any distraction or delay. That is what I am saying. That is how to live a meaningful life – knowing your purpose and committing yourself to fulfilling it. This is not limited to the gospel ministry.
God is the Source and Originator of the destiny of everyone. Therefore, if you have not discovered yours, pray to God and enquire from Him. Prayerfully discover what God has called you to do and fulfill it. That is the only way to live a meaningful life. Paul told Timothy: “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5 NKJV). In Colossians 4:17, Paul gave a similar counsel to Archippus, a fellow soldier of Paul (Philemon 2), who held an official position in the church at Colosse: “And say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it’” (Colossians 4:17 New King James Version).
Conclusion: Whatever purpose God has called you to fulfil, make a full proof of it. Do not be slack; do not lose your focus. Having children is exciting. Once more, if you are still looking up to God for your own children, I pray that the LORD will answer your prayer this season. You will soon become a joyful parent.
However, every parent must go beyond having children and subdue and have dominion. Do not live just to give birth to children; live to fulfil your divine purpose. That does not mean you should neglect your family.
There is more to you than being a husband or a wife, or a father or a mother. Your children will leave you one day to go and start their own families. I pray that you will live a meaningful and impactful life. You will live a life of significance in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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