Dominion is a word that evokes strong reaction. Sometimes the reaction is a positive one; other times it carries a negative connotation. Biblically, dominion is the task God gave to Adam (and his progeny) as part of his calling and duty. The Fall, because of its effects on all generations since our first parents, makes the mandate to take dominion harder, not obsolete. Without regeneration, urges to take dominion have resulted in grotesque parodies manifested by state, religious, or personal tyranny. The fruit of such counterfeits has been trauma, grief, and suffering beyond measure. Despite abuses and misunderstandings, dominion remains a command (restated in the Great Commission of Matthew 28), rather than a suggestion.
Last year, we challenged 16-19 year olds to participate in an essay contest regarding how they applied the Dominion Mandate in and to their lives. We set a word limit, required attestations from a parent or pastor of the veracity of the essay, and offered prize money: $500 for first place, $300 for second, and $200 for third. I’m sure that many were dissuaded from approaching this topic because they weren’t oriented to exactly what taking dominion entails. It would be easy to dismiss anything that wasn’t grandiose in scope and perspective as unlikely to win. To the contrary, dominion involves activity in the specific circumstance God has placed you.
Grace Waters, our first place winner, has this to say about the subject: “As we live in obedience to God’s Word, our entire lives can be spent in taking dominion over the things right around us.” She concludes her insightful essay by saying, “Living our lives according to God’s Word, we can bring His kingdom to this earth. Whether by serving our parents in the home, by singing in a choir, or by doing any other thing as to the Lord, we can fulfill His command of taking dominion over every living thing. ‘And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him’ (Col. 3:17).”
Jesse Johnson’s second place essay related his experiences on a summer mission’s trip he took to Colorado. He correctly understands that dominion is not a part-time activity. He summarizes his ideas: “Yes, I may have taken dominion in this area once or twice, but that just brought a little bit of change. We all need to daily look for ways we can plant seeds of light into the hearts of others, seeds that will grow and carry them out of the darkness they may be in. It’s not just a one-time or a two-time “experience.” It’s about our making the choice every day to ask God to bring people to us so we can impart the truth to them. That’s taking dominion, and when we take dominion over the needs of others, if we’re doing it right, we’ll impart that mandate to them, so that they can start taking dominion also. That is truly taking dominion, and is the only way that any big change is going to happen.”
Emily Robinson received our third place award for her essay describing the important relationship between obedience and dominion. Her account of making a hard choice — one that might be ridiculed or sneered at by her peers — demonstrated that taking dominion involves submission to the total call that God has on our lives.
We invite you to read these essays in their entirety ( http://www.rosshousebooks.org/whatsnew.php) and use them as a springboard in your own life regarding your faithfulness to God’s command to “Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
Thanks to all who participated.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].
- Ford Schwartz
Ford Schwartz lives in San Jose, CA and works as a sales manager at a car dealership. He is on the Board of Chalcedon. He and his wife, Andrea, have been married for 41 years and have 3 children.