Jockko Willink has become a leadership sensation in the past few years. His Ted Talks and podcasts are popular, and his book, Extreme Ownership has been a best selling book several years in a row. He gives solid leadership advice from the perspective of his background as a Navy Seal Team Commander. One of the central tenets of his philosophy is that we are to take responsibility for all situations. We do not pass the buck of blame in a crisis. That is good counsel.
This important concept of ownership applies to our responsibility. Perhaps surprisingly, a Christian worldview teaches us we are not owners of our things—or even ourselves.
“The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it,
The world, and all who live in it;
For He founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the waters.”
This simple statement, which frames the song known as Psalm 24, lays out God’s supreme ownership of all things. Everything belongs to Him. What is more, it explains why everything belongs to God—because He created it. All natural resources belong to God. All human resources belong to God. All things are His. This frames how a person ought to think about everything.
Going beyond creation, the Christian understands we doubly belong to God, because Jesus Christ was given as a payment for our sins. As 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “you are not your own; you were bought with a price.” First God created us. Then He rescued us from our own rebellion and its consequence. We owe our eternal life to Him.
That leads to a second question. Since God is the owner, what is our role? We are caretakers, stewards of His goods. As a result, every business decision—sales, personnel, location, product development, accounting—all of them have to do with God. This understanding, on a very tangible level, should impact the way we approach our work and our personal lives at the most intimate level.
Of course, it will be easy for those who do not share the premise to deny the conclusion. If we say God is not the Creator, then perhaps we do not have any responsibilities to Him. But we must stake a position on this. Neutrality will simply not do. It is impractical like a child refusing to breathe. You will need to act at some point, and when you do, it will have to come from a point of view. If you decide that there is no God, you are the owner, and you can dispose of your goods, opportunities and life as you wish. (This consequently, rather than the weight of logical evidence, is the main reason for atheism—a desire for autonomy.) If you believe there is a God, you must face the reality that it creates obligations to Him.
As we labor and work, rest and recreate, all of these actions are to be viewed from the position of a steward, to whom resources have been entrusted. We will give an account for it all. Amazingly, the Scriptures also tell us that we will receive a reward if we faithfully labor in God’s grace—the grace that enables us to do all things.