Our nature is to have dominion. The Almighty put it in our first parents when He put them in the Garden of Eden. We still have that nature, and that’s a good thing. Without it there would be no such thing as an explorer. The Wright Brothers never would have tried to do what birds do. Those who could hear the music never would have built the instruments to give birth to what they heard. Our nature caused us to build and seek and dive and send men to the moon.
But alas, we are fallen. Our parents rebelled and Eden is no more. And we are distorted from the fall. That nature to dominate often comes out as a desire to manipulate, to exploit, to enslave and capitalize, and even to destroy. Sometimes that nature drives people to terrorize. Before the lie tricked us into rebellion, our nature could be trusted. Now, the thing we need to dominate over most of all is our own selves. Bob Dylan sang, “Man thinks cause he rules the earth, he can do with it as he pleases. And if things don’t change soon, he will.” He goes on to say that our evil desire to dominate has invented our doom.
Sherry keeps reminding me that every tree doesn’t need to become a guitar. Perhaps it doesn’t need to become anything. Maybe it is what it should be. The squirrels can climb it, the birds can nest in it, and the wind can make the leaves sing. We can see it and sit under its shade, and otherwise leave it alone. Everybody loves that pond. But the developers don’t necessarily need to subdivide and fence it off and build houses around it. It can just be a fishing hole, and a place where the boys learn to swim.
Rich Mullins said, “The world can’t stand what it can’t own”. Our dominant nature causes us to lay a hold of and claim for our own anything we like. And it causes so much trouble among us. One man wants another man’s wife. He knows she’s married, but he wants her still. Bobby D said, “Man is opposed to fair play. He wants it all and he wants it his way.” We dam up rivers for our own use and withhold it from those further down the line.
The word “Amen” means “Let it be.” I always liked that old Beatle song and wonder if they knew that was the definition of “Amen.” The intent behind ending our prayers with “Amen” is that we are saying, “Let it be the will of God.” One problem we have in our selfish desire to dominate is that we will even fight against the One who made us. In our smallness, in our mortality, in that little bit of time and space we occupy on this earth, we still think we know better than the Eternal One. Who was that country singer? Somebody had a song where he talked about God’s greatest gifts being answered prayers. Many men have fought against their Maker until they got what they wanted; only to find that it was not what they needed. On an honest day, I think most would agree that God knows best. But since we are flawed, and since we get to choose, we assert our dominance.
I have a hard time trying to let it be. With my limited vision, the lines are always a bit blurred. When should I put my hands to the plow and when should I let go? What is my responsibility, and what should I let the next person do? Most of all, where does my job end and the Lord’s begin? I don’t want to hold on tight when He wants me to let it be. And I don’t want to give it up too soon if He wants me to press on.
There are always things that need to become something more. The seed wants to become a tree. The child wants to become an adult. The beginner guitar player wants to become a good guitar player. I want to become more patient and understanding. But then some things need to be. They don’t need to be exploited or dressed up or made useful in any way. We show ourselves wise when we can tell the difference between the two.
Makin’ sawdust & Diggin’ the music