RITE OF PASSAGE: Dominion versus duties
The older I get, the more things I find I wish I had taught my children. I keep asking myself, “Why didn’t I pour these life skills into my sons at an earlier age?” Back then, I just didn’t know what I know . . . now. If I could do the parenting job all over again, I would explain to my boys the difference between their dominion and their duties. I believe every person has a dominion: a place that matches perfectly with the way the Creator designed him. You are never more at peace with your identity than when you serve in your dominion.
My dominion is teaching and preaching. I can spend hours teaching God’s Word, pouring my soul into a lesson and pleading with people to live lives of obedience. When I come home exhausted, my wife makes a comment about how hard I have been working, and I think, “Work? No, that was not work. It was all joy!”
The area where I struggle is not my dominion, but my duties. Duties are those things I am not gifted to accomplish but have to do, things like mowing the lawn, repairing a leaky sink or balancing the checkbook. I have friends with dominion in each one of these areas. Some people love to mow grass. They take great joy in criss-crossing their lawn to achieve that professional look. There are people who love plumbing (most of these have the gift of helps) and others who love balancing checkbooks (these usually have the gift of administration). They all find great satisfaction in doing these things, even though I . . . don’t.
Jesus knew His dominion; He told us He had come to give us life and life abundantly. He knew He had fulfilled his purpose when He spoke the words, “It is finished.” Many people go through life without discovering their dominion-the things that give them joy, allowing the Creator to shine through them like a lighthouse on a dark night.
I encouraged, pushed and guided my children to discover their dominion. Caleb, my youngest son, is like his dad. He loves to study the Word of God and open its truths for others. My oldest son, Jeremiah, finds great delight in taking high school students (many from disadvantaged backgrounds) from point A to point B. I have sat in his classes watching as he masterfully guides and encourages these young people to reach their potential. I have often said to him, “Your students don’t know how lucky they are to have you as their teacher.” Both my sons are blessed with jobs that allow them to fulfill their dominion.
What I didn’t teach them was the importance of doing their duties as unto the Lord. This, they learned from their wise and beautiful mother. Many people fail in their dominion because they haven’t taken care of their duties. Great preachers have faltered because they didn’t take care of their finances. College athletes have stumbled because they didn’t take care of their academics. Mighty leaders have fallen because they didn’t take care of . . . the details.
This reminds me of the biblical story of Joseph. His brothers knew God had His hand upon him, so they decided to sell him into slavery. God had not designed Joseph as a houseboy for the king’s wife. This woman wanted Joseph in all the wrong ways. When he resisted her advances, he found himself in prison. Through a series of events, he interpreted a dream for the king, who took him out of prison and into a place of great authority. Ultimately, God used Joseph to save many people, including his own family, from a great famine.
Joseph performed every one of his duties to the best of his ability. His faithfulness led to open doors that allowed him to step into his God-given dominion.
What is the one thing your children always want? They long to be grown up, to be mature. What is one mark of certain maturity? Approaching your duties in the same way you approach your dominion!
As Paul told young Timothy, “Show yourself to be faithful in all that you do. When given a duty, do it as an act of worship unto the Lord, without complaining or belly-aching. That, my young friend, will show the world you can be faithful in little. Then God will give you a man-sized dominion.” 1Tim. 4:12, WMT (Walker Moore translation.)
Teach your children to do their duties faithfully. This is the path to discovering the dominion God has planned for them.