Let’s say you rent a car. You get the full insurance for an extra $20 a day. They call it “the steering wheel” policy meaning you could return the car with only a steering wheel and you’d be covered. So you beat up on the rental. Slam the brakes. Do donuts in the parking lot. Spill soda and leave wrappers all over the interior. Because it’s not yours. It’s a rental.
Let’s say you own a classic car. Unlike a rental, you are so protective and possessive of it, that you keep it tucked away in the garage. You never let anyone else drive it, or even touch it. The sun might fade the interior, so you only drive on overcast days. You never use or share what you have because you’re possessively protective.
How do you manage what you have? Are you a renter, carelessly abusing? Are you a possessive owner, selfishly hoarding what you have? God offers a radically different approach of relating to what you have in your life. Scripture speaks not of renting or owning, but uses the word “steward” or “manager.”
Management was built into the human DNA from the beginning. In creating humans, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . .” What is the “image of God”? There is much discussion about this, but what follows in the verse is a key component of what it means to be created in the image of God. “. . . and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens . . . and over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26).
The word “dominion” is used 22 times in the OT and most commonly it refers to relationships like the following: Master over servants; Administrator over employees; King over his people; Shepherd over flock.
In all of these uses, the word “dominion” implies a responsible care. God gives Adam and Eve life. He gives them all of creation (v. 29) – a garden full of fruit, plants, trees, and animals. He gives them blessing (v. 28). And over all of this, he gives them dominion, the responsible care over everything he presented to them. In this way, to be human is to exercise responsible care over things you have been given.
Renter | “It’s someone else’s.” | “So I abuse it.”
Owner | “It’s only mine.” | “So I hoard it.”
Manager | “It’s God’s.” | “So I care for it.”
Management assumes that what you have is not yours. Managers are given things to use. God says in Genesis 1:29, “Behold, I have given you . . .”
My in-laws are dairy farmers from central Wisconsin. They manage 200 acres, 150 dairy cows, and a million dollars’ worth of barns, machines, and equipment. For five generations the family has run the farm. Even though the deed is in their name, they have a saying. It’s on farm T-shirts, sweatshirts, and jackets. “On lease from the Lord since 1879.”
This is the principle: God is the great Giver. Everyone is given something, so everyone is a manager of God-given things. YOU are a manager. So how are you managing what you have? This includes:
God gave you everything you have. So have you ever consulted him on how to manage it? If God sat down to have a performance review with you, how would you be doing in your management?
Maybe you’ve been living like a careless renter or a possessive owner. But he still gives nonetheless. He gave even when you took. He gave you love when you didn’t expect it. He gave you grace when you didn’t deserve it.
God is the Great Giver, and he’s given you so much. So now is the time to be an exceptional manager.