Taking Dominion – Part 1

And 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 heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28

Following His act of creation in the book of Genesis, God set up His plan for how that creation would be governed, and how his purposes would be carried out. He created humans who were to be entrusted with the care and stewardship of the earth. God blessed His human creations and set the world into their hands.

Though the original goodness of the creation was skewed with the advent of sin in the world, God has still given us dominion over the creation as a whole and, in particular, our own lives. Humans were designed to love God, seek His will, and do the kind of work that honors God and brings fulfillment to the individual. Our work and our management of our lives and creation were to be a form of worship. To do otherwise is to fail in God’s calling on our lives and it is sin.

Jesus tells a story that helps to illustrate the point:

The Parable of the Talents

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus is teaching that we are to demonstrate responsibility, wisdom, and even a little savvy in utilizing and maximizing what has been given to us.

What does this have to do with us as addicts?

Look at your life and think about the wreckage that surrounds you. At some point in the past, addiction took over and diverted us from the good plans God had for our lives. Instead of stewarding our gifts and talents, we squandered our resources of time, money and energy on booze, entertainment and unholy living.

Addiction robbed us of our sense of a greater purpose or responsibility in the world. Instead we have lived without roots, blown about by every circumstance, and victims to the influence of our lower instincts. We have avoided taking responsibility for our lives, we have neglected our call to serve and take care of others, and we have failed to use our gifts and talents to their fullest potential. Pleasure attainment was our highest aim. Now, after all of these years, we have very little to show for our lives.

We should feel at least a little depressed and remorseful about this. How many good opportunities have we wasted? How many times have we failed to maximize or even appreciate all that God has given us? How many years have we spent languishing in addiction when we could have been living useful lives of service and purpose?

The disease grabbed a foothold and we gave up. We felt we didn’t have any other choice but to succumb. We failed to realize that there was a greater power that could have been ours if we had humbled ourselves enough to seek it.

Continued in Taking Dominion – Part 2.