Management and Leadership Principles for Excellence Part-3
PRINCIPLE # 1
“Subdue” and “Have Dominion Over” Creation
We just started a series of Management and Leadership Principles last week. Today we are going to take a deeper glance at the original mandate of man. We already saw that in the first part of introduction God‘s first assignment to man is mention in the first chapter of Genesis.
God’s Ultimate Diagram For Manhood
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish 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 moveth upon the earth.”(Genesis 1:26-28)
Man was made last of all the creatures: this was both an honour and a favour to him. Yet man was made the same day that the beasts were; his body was made of the same earth with theirs; God first made the body of man and he made it of the dust of the earth. Certainly it is true that the same elements that are found in the dust of the ground are found also in the body of man. It is shown to be a fact because it is to dust that we return. But Man is more than a body. He is not merely an animated piece of beef steak, a hunk of meat with a nervous system. He is more than body; he is soul as well as body. The functions of the soul are wonderfully linked to those of the body in ways that we have not even begun to fathom.
For instance, the functions of the soul (largely reason, emotion, and will), are also in some most remarkable way functions of our physical life. Reason is related to the brain, for it is only as the brain operates that reason occurs. Glands have great power over our emotional life. The hormones which they secrete directly affect us emotionally. Thus the functions of the soul are tied most remarkably to the body, and no one fully understands the mystery of it. In the forming of man God made body and soul together, with the capacities for function of the soul lying dormant within the body of man.
“...then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being[or, literally, a living soul].” (Genesis 2:7 RSV)
Then, into this body with an inactive soul, the account says he breathed, through the nostrils, a living spirit. The phrase breath of life, in the Hebrew, means "a spirit of life." The word for breath and spirit are the same, both in Hebrew and in Greek, so that this is more than simply a picture of God breathing into man's nostrils. This is not face-to-face resuscitation: it is the impartation of a spirit into man. As we know from other Scriptures, the spirit is our essential nature. It is this that distinguishes man so remarkably from the animal creation. Thus as man comes into being, he comes full-orbed, as a threefold being, existing in body, soul, and spirit. It is the joining together of spirit and body which activates and galvanizes the soul, so that it begins to function.
To “Subdue” and “Have Dominion Over” Creation
“The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind.” Psalm 115:16
The Bible reveals that the earth was designed to be man’s home, and that man in his original perfection was in every way suited to rule the earth. God’s original purpose for mankind was thus connected with the management of the earth.
In every person, there is potential for leadership. “You were born to rule!” Leadership really comes down to two things: who you are and how you think. It is about discovering your identity as a born leader and then understanding the way true leaders think so that you can fulfill your inherent calling. To exercise leadership, you must believe that you are inherently a leader. The world is in desperate need of true leaders. Our Nation need positive role models, our children need fathers and our world needs direction. Where are the leaders? Who are they? What makes an individual a leader? Does God Demand Quality Effective Leaders? Bible says “The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people... " (I Samuel 13:14). Quality leadership is the key to a prosperous and peaceful life. When God created you, He placed in you all of the necessary gifting, callings and talents you would ever need to fulfill His glorious plan for your life. He did not create you to sputter in life, stall, and fall short or to abort your purpose. But the trouble is “Where purpose is not known abuse is inevitable.” When you do not know your God-given purpose, you will abuse yourself and others.
God gives everyone specific gifts, callings and talents for the purpose of fulfilling His plans for their life. You are born with them and it is your responsibility to find out what they are, and then put them to use. Remember, you were born to lead because the Lord God Almighty chose you to be a leader! In Genesis 1:26, these words are recorded, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ...” To be created in God’s image means that God created you to conform to His moral character. You were created to have the same DNA, attributes, traits and disposition as God. In Leviticus 11:44-45, the Lord God commanded us, “Be Holy, for I am Holy!” The first and most vital step to true leadership is conforming yourself to God’s moral character. Men, who don’t take this first step, ultimately always fail at leadership. How do you learn God’s moral character? The only way is through the study of God’s Word. Any other source will corrupt, subvert or slander your character. To be created in God’s likeness means you were created to function just like God function! How does God operate? For example the one way is that God lives and operates by faith. In Hebrews 10:38, we were given this command, “Now the just shall live by faith…” It is an irrefutable fact - men who do not live by faith, subject themselves to the possibility of cracking when they face certain types of tests, trials and temptations. Men, who walk by faith, never crack under pressure!
Every man comes with a God-given purpose. In Genesis 2:15, these words are recorded, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it…” That word “dress,” means to cultivate. To cultivate means: 1). To improve the condition of. 2). To make better. 3). To cause to multiply. 4). To cause to be fruitful. 5). To promote the growth of. 6). To nourish. You are called by God to be a cultivator. Everything that you set your hands to, or get involved with, should improve and become better! That means your Nation, community, church, family and the institution you work for will all improve because of your presence. God has called every person to be a leader!
In Genesis 2:15, another word is recorded, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” That word “keep,” means to protect. To protect means: 1. To keep from being damaged, attacked, stolen, or injured. 2. To shield from danger, injury, destruction, or damage. 3. To guard, to defend and to be a watchman. God has called men to be protectors. We are called to protect the women and children, ( I Samuel 30:1-19). Protect our country and community, ( I Timothy 2:1-3). Protect and provide for the poor, (See Job 29:12-17). Protect, help and nurture the fatherless, (Psalm 10:14). Protect and provide for the widows, (Deuteronomy 26:12). Protect the God’s institution by contending for the faith, (Jude 3). When you see, hear and read about men committing acts of violence and mayhem against society, it is a forgone conclusion. They either missed or rejected this essential step to leadership. God has created and called all men to be protectors!
In the beginning of Genesis, God creates everything and puts Adam in the Garden to work it and to take care of it. It is clear that man was created to rule and work and that work is the stewardship of all of the creation that God has given him. This is the fundamental principle of biblical leadership and stewardship. God owns everything; we are simply managers or administrators acting on his behalf. We are called as God’s stewards to manage that which belongs to God. While God has graciously entrusted us with the care, development, and enjoyment of everything he owns as his stewards, we are responsible to manage his holdings well and according to his desires and purposes. A steward is one who manages the possessions of another. We are all stewards of the resources, abilities and opportunities that God has entrusted to our care, and one day each one of us will be called to give an account for how we have managed what the Master has given us.Just as a product cannot know it’s true purpose or worth except in its relationship with its maker, so it is with you and me. The leadership spirit is the inherent leadership capacity and potential that is the essential nature of human beings. A popular definition of leadership is that "leadership is influence." A good leader not only knows where he is going, but he can inspire others to go with him.
God has entrusted authority over the creation to us and we are not allowed to rule over it as we see fit. We are called to exercise our dominion under the watchful eye of the Creator managing his creation in accord with the principles he has established. Like the servants in the Parable of the Talents, we will be called to give an account of how we have administered everything we have been given, including our time, money, abilities, information, wisdom, relationships, and authority.
We will all give account to the rightful owner as to how well we managed the things he has entrusted to us. Therefore, stewardship expresses our obedience regarding the administration of everything God has placed under our control, which is all encompassing. Stewardship is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service, recognizing that we do not have the right of control over our property or ourselves. We need to be faithful stewards of all God has given us within the opportunities presented through his providence to glorify him, serve the common good and further his Kingdom.
So God’s commission to humanity is “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion” is a glorious calling, and comes as a result of our creation in the image of God—the image and dominion language is repeated twice in Genesis 1:26-28. This is key, because it means our commission to dominion is part and parcel of what it means to bear God’s image, and so understanding the character of our dominion flows from understanding the character of our image–bearing. It was man's original commission, humanity's primal charter. And history is the story of the execution of the commission, civilization the unfolding of the privileges of the charter. Wherever civilized man has gone, there he has been gaining dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and every living thing that moveth on the earth, by, subduing earth itself.
When we think about the dominion God has given us over the earth, then, we need to keep in mind the character of the God whose image we bear. If we think that blessing or causing to be fruitful are odd ways of thinking about subduing and having dominion over the earth, then we’re not thinking in terms of the character of God’s good rule. This dominion, exercised in ordering and blessing, gets to the relationship between our commission as described in very different ways in Gen 1 and 2. Unlike Gen 1, humanity’s origin and calling in Gen 2 doesn’t at first glance seem so glorious: rather than speak of the image of God, Gen 2 says that humanity has been created out of dirt just like the rest of the “living creatures” (2:7, 19). Instead of the language of subduing and dominion, we get the language of working and keeping, the language of service rather than rule (2:15). In light of God’s character and his commission for us, however, these accounts show themselves to be complimentary rather than contradictory.
This dominion means to maintain order, and it is to be exercised over resources of the Earth and other creatures not people. It was first given to Adam and his wife and was to be for the whole human race (Psalms 8:6-8). Man was to have sovereignty over the Earth, animal creation and other creatures. Because of our being made in God’s image we were given a higher moral and spiritual nature. Our capacity for right thinking, knowledge, holiness, and righteousness, would be expressed in our ruling over the other creatures.
God’s commission for humanity is precisely a dominion of service and blessing, under God; it’s a rule that brings about fruitfulness for us and the rest of creation rather than tyranny or abuse, because we exercise dominion under someone else’s authority. Though we are created in the image and likeness of God, it’s no less true that we’re made of the same “dust” that other creatures are. Human image–bearing is a gift and a calling, not an intrinsic superiority:
As in Gen 1, in Gen 2 Adam is called to exercise subordinate headship and bring meaningful and productive order, in naming the animals (vv. 19, 20) as well as cultivating his garden sanctuary. And as in Gen 1, in Gen 2 God calls Adam to fulfill his commission on behalf of humanity as his created image. Adam is to display the character of God, and accomplish his charge in faithful obedience (2:16). And finally, just as God created, ordered and then rested, so too humanity was created with a commission to productive labor which had as its end to join in God’s own blessed rest (cf. Heb 2:6–8).
Now for the word “dominion” or “rule”. In Hebrew this is radah. It’s a royal word. This is the dominating rule of a king. But let’s pause and think of the kind of king that God desires. The same word is used in Psalm 72, originally a coronation psalm for Solomon. Verse 8: “May he have dominion [radah] from sea to sea . . .” But now look at verses 12-14 to see what that dominion, that radah, looks like: “He delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight. “(Psalm 72: 12-14)
What is the kind of rule that God doesn’t want? Ezekiel 34:4 gives us an example. In a tirade against Israel’s kings, God says through the prophet, “You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them.”
The dominion that God desires is one that protects the defenseless and gives justice to the oppressed. Applying this to the command for humanity to exercise dominion over creation, we can see that while we rule over creation, we’re called to protect it. As a king accepts tribute or taxes from his subjects, so too we receive a bountiful sustenance from the fruits of creation. Yet also as a king should take care of the weak and poor in his kingdom, so too we are called to guard natural beauty, preserve endangered species of God’s creatures, and even to restore the places which we have too often ruled “with force and harshness.”
When Adam and Eve sinned they were told to leave the garden and were forbidden back into it. The only entrance in was guarded by God’s glory. So the current state of the world, however, shows what a mess we have made of this glory and dignity. We have marred God’s image “almost beyond recognition.” This causes one to wonder: can a person truly be in the image God when evil abounds? In Genesis 9:6: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image." This verse fully affirms God’s likeness in humanity. Even in a world where sin abounds, humankind is still created in God’s image—badly distorted, true, but still the image of God. So the fact of being created in God’s image in Genesis, cries out for completion as the Old Testament ends.
1. Humankind is created to manifest the glory of God, but the work is clearly unfinished.
2. The image of God has been deeply marred by self-centered rebellion against God (sin). The work of God cries out for completion
3. The male/female relationship is damaged by the desire to dominate, but it points to completion in the mystery of Christ and the bride for which he gave his life—the Church.
In all cases, creation only moves to completion, as we are “utterly and radically and uniquely devoted to the Lord.”
The Old Testament indicates that the purpose which the humanity was made to steward the things of the earth and to reflect the glory of God in the world. It speaks of being created to show forth the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7). It also speaks of how the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. (Habakkuk 2:14). However, the Hebrew Scriptures end with creation utterly unfinished and the hope of glory still to come. Stopping the story there, begs for the rest to be told, and it is, but only in Christ: question is how?
When God created man, He knows the ability He created man with. He gave us gifts “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” (Mathew 25:14) and expects us to walk in what He has given us. He respected man so much that He gave him dominion over every other creature. He even permitted man to name other animals and He never changed those names from what man called each animal. Respect is based on responsibility and love is subjective.
God gave us free will, so we become the product of our choice. We love the freedom of choice that He gave us but we do not want the responsibilities that come with the consequences of our choices. Man prefers to live by choice, but God works by principles.
God does more through us than He does for us because we are in partnership with Him. He spoke everything into existence except man because man is special to Him. The gifts He gave us bring us into limelight. There are times that He hides our gifts from us because He wants to develop our character first. Gifts bring us out but negative character can bring us down. God has created man to be in authority of every aspect of his life but the choices Man make do not permit him to. Until man takes his proper position/place which is to be seated in the heavenly places far above principalities and power, he cannot walk in dominion. How then, do we walk in dominion? The kingdom of God is about power (Heb 1:3). When you give your life to Christ, a new placement occurs and you become seated with Christ in the heavenly places. God places us in a place of power to become His sons. Salvation is for power, (Acts 1:8). We need power to do everything in life (Heb 11:11), (Deut 8:18).The source of power is God's word, and Jesus is the word, hence He is the power that we need (John 17:8)
Leadership and stewardship is impossible unless we take the first step to transferring ownership of our life and all material possessions to God. This means your very life, money, and time, family, material possessions, education— even earning potential for the future. God's Word says that we must be willing to transfer ownership of every material thing in our possession to Him if we truly want to be spiritually free.
When we recognize that God owns everything and all blessings come from Him, our role as managers, or stewards, becomes evident. When we view ourselves as owners and not managers, we'll look at every other aspect of our lives the same way. Each of us will see himself or herself as the person in charge, but that can change quickly in the face of circumstances beyond our control. But if God is the owner and we are simply His stewards, we need only to be concerned with how best to manage His possessions. In so doing, life is no longer our possession; it is God's possession, which we hold in trust. But because we will have to give an account of how well we managed His material goods and possessions, we must to the best of our ability use the resources as we feel He would use it and in a manner that is pleasing to Him.
As stewards of God's possessions that have been entrusted to us, we must ask whether God would be pleased with our stewardship or with the way that we have use and spent His resources. Would God be pleased with His steward indulging in material excess, while millions are starving to death or living below poverty line and His servants who are striving to take His Gospel to the far corners of the earth, are in need and in want? Would God be pleased with His steward using His money to satisfy personal selfish desires at the expense of the unsaved? Would He be pleased that His stewards all too often choose to fulfill their own directive rather than to fulfill His Great Commission?
After decades of espousing the latest in new management techniques, many business consultants are now coming to the conclusion that what most companies need is not more refined management techniques but Godly leadership. The pages of Scripture likewise attest the virtue of men like Moses, Abraham, Joshua, Nehemiah and Peter, Paul whose courage and faith were vehicles of God's blessing and success on the multitudes who followed them. Perhaps nowhere is the quality of leadership better exemplified than in the remarkable life of Nehemiah, a quality of leadership we can emulate today regardless of our profession.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Jesus Christ is the ultimate example and the greatest Leader ever lived on the planet. Five general categories describe the leadership style of Christ. First, He was a leader with a clear mission (Plan, Purpose and Vision). Second Jesus’ primary motivation and purpose were glorification of His heavenly Father. Third, Jesus was a leader with consistent character (organized). He lived what He taught with authority and believed. (Directed)Fourth, He was a leader with a capable team. (Staffing) Finally He paid the price (Ransom) (Controlling) He knew with committed, gifted individuals around Him, He would reach the world. God's ownership of everything and your stewardship is central to management. It is essential that we too use the following five frame principles of basic management concept.
It does not really matter what the nature of products or services one provides, but one has to manage an organization by repeating the five functions listed above in that sequence over and over again.
Genesis 1 establishes that although both people and nature are created works of God and under God’s authority, God has given people dominion over nature to Sustained Order and Purpose. But, how are people to exercise this dominion? God created people in His own image - as His representatives on earth. Because we are under God’s authority in all things, we are to do God’s will when exercising our dominion over nature.
In Genesis 1:28, God tells people to subdue nature. The word “subdue” is translated from the Hebrew work “kabash” which means to make to serve, by force if necessary. But “subdue” does not man “abuse”, just as the phrase “rule over” in the Bible does not mean “exercise tyranny over”.
Some specific instructions pertaining to managing nature are given in Genesis 2: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”(Genesis 2:15, NIV). The phrase, “to work it” means “to till it” or “to cultivate it”; the general meaning is to use productively. The phrase to “take care of it” means “to keep”, “to guard”, “to exercise great care over”. The intent of “keeping, guarding, caring over” is to sustain the function for which the element of nature or natural system being cared for was originally designed. Sustaining the original God-designed functions of nature is a very important objective from theological, ethical and practical standpoints. God will watch how you manage resources by how you manage His temple (your body). By observing good management principles, you can save, conserve, protect, and expand your resources.
Bible says “When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground” Genesis 2:5
The following structure displays the four clauses and the general Hebrew word order: (1) no shrub of the field was yet on the Earth (2) no plant of the field had yet sprouted for (3) no rain sent by the Lord God on the Earth (4) no man to work the ground. This structure and word order make it clear that there are definitely two things needed (rain and man) to solve the two-fold problem (no plant and no growth). The Bible indeed says that God had not caused it to rain upon the Earth, but also quickly adds, "there was no man to till the ground."
Genesis 2 is not a day by day report in sequence. It starts with a reference to the condition of the earth (2:5–6). Since humans are created in God’s image, we can learn something about what God is like from this passage that God wants a leader to work or a manger to manage the ground. So in the absence of a man God didn’t allow the Rain and growth.
When governments collapse, human philosophies fail and your life is crashing down around you, rediscovering the original leadership perception will become your guide through the storms of life. The greatest CHALLENGE in life is to know what to do. Applying the leadership principle will bring a new sense of relevance and purpose to your spiritual, emotional, and physical life.
To be continued…………