Dominance by Randy Rowley 7/7/17 ©


It was a cold yet sunny December afternoon for a meat deer hunt on the Hymeadow Ranch near Lampasas.  Robin, my middle daughter, and I lay on our bellies on the edge of a 9-acre field.  We decided not to hunt the natural blind, as the deer feeder was about 300 yards east of it.  Instead, we set up south of the feeder, which put us 100 yards closer to it.

Within a few minutes, a couple of does came out, but I had already killed two antlerless deer (a doe and a button buck that I mistook for a doe), so I passed on them, hoping that I’d get a shot at a decent spike.

Another hour went by, then suddenly an explosion of sound to our right interrupted the peaceful river bottom, although we couldn’t see what was happening.  To say that it was a commotion was an understatement – twigs were snapping, leaves were rustling, and two bodies were crashing together.  It sounded like a knock-down, drag-out fight!  I thought that perhaps a bobcat had attacked a yearling deer.

All of a sudden, two big birds flew halfway across the field.  At first, I thought they were buzzards, but when they landed, I recognized them for what they were – gobblers!  It was just the two of them – no hens were there encouraging the fight

And the gobblers didn’t like each other one bit.  They were kicking each other with their spurs, beating each other with their wings, and whacking each other with their necks and heads.  Feathers were flying everywhere, as were the reticles on my scope.  I tried my best to get one of them in my crosshairs, but that proved very difficult as they were spinning around like two tornados.  I decided that I wouldn’t get a shot at a still bird, so when one of them whirled into my crosshairs, I loosed a .25-06 round from my Remington Model 700.

My shot abruptly ended their disagreement.  One flew away to the east and the other to the north.  We looked for blood but didn’t find any.  Nor did we have success finding a bird.  I chalked it off as a miss.  In hindsight, I shouldn’t have shot until the fight was over, and one or both of them was standing still.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but as they weren’t fighting over a hen, they could only be fighting for one thing – dominance.  The dominant gobbler gets to mate with breeding hens.  The loser still gets to stay with the flock but can only mate when the dominant gobbler isn’t looking.

Matthew 20:20-26 gives the recount of the mother who sought to have her two sons dominate their peers.  James and John’s mother approached Jesus and asked him to grant that one of her sons sit at his right and the other at his left in his kingdom.  Jesus told them they didn’t know what they were asking and then asked if they could drink from the cup he would drink (be executed).  James and John replied that they could.  Jesus told them that they would indeed drink from his cup, but to sit at his right or left was not for him to grant – it was God’s decision.

When the other disciples heard about this, they were angry with James and John.  Matthew 20:25-28 says, “Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”

What happened was either a recount of a bold mother who wanted the very best for her boys and two mama’s boys who wouldn’t stand up to her or a recount of two disciples who used their mother to attempt to further their ambitions.  Regardless of the motivation, James, John, and their mother struck out in their attempt to gain power.

Perhaps if James, John, and their mother had access to the book of Ephesians (unfortunately for them, it hadn’t been written yet), they would have better understood their positions in Christ and saved themselves some embarrassment.  Here are just a few of the truths that Paul conveyed in the first two chapters:

  • God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3b (NLT).)
  • “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” (Ephesians 1:4 (NLT).)
  • “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5 (NLT).)
  • “So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” (Ephesians 1:6 (NLT).)
  • He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7-8a (NLT).)
  • God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan.  And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” (Ephesians 1:9-10 (NLT).)
  • “And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you.  And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.” (Ephesians 1:13 (NLT).)
  • “That even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.  (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:5 (NLT).)
  • “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6 (NLT).)  (James and John were already seated with Christ, although they didn’t grasp it.)
  • “For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 (NLT).)
  • “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus.  Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13 (NLT).)
  • “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets.  And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.” (Ephesians 2:20 (NLT).)

Unlike those gobblers, Christians don’t have to fight for our positions now or when we’re in heaven.  To be dominant in our relationships is not what God had in mind for us.  Instead, we must recognize who we are in Christ and emulate him as a servant to all.

Categories : Devotionals

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But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You.


 January 2022