At Work & Theology 101

The Good News about the Cultural Mandate

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Editor’s note: Today we introduce Tim Hoerr, the newest contributor to IFWE’s blog. He is the CEO of Serra Ventures, LLC and the author of Risking It: An Intersection of Faith and Work. This is the first in a series of posts exploring faith, work, and risk. 

There is some good news I have to share with you. You are destined to take charge of some sphere of creation – to be a godly steward over it – whether it is in business, the arts, science, education, politics, or in whatever milieu you may be living. Small or large, there is a domain over which you were intended to “reign.”

In Genesis 1:26-28 we find the original set of marching orders to the human race, if you will. Those marching orders are as applicable today as they were then.

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature. So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female.  God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth (The Message).

This scripture is commonly called the cultural mandate, and when we first read it, we might not see beyond the words on the page.  As humans, we of course are meant to “rule” and be superior over animals and the land, but there is much more to it than this.

We are made in God’s image and are designed to be co-creators with him. In this way, we get the awesome and unique opportunity to develop solutions to societal inequities, to create new expressions of art and music, and to create businesses that solve perplexing problems of all sorts.

Most Christians get the Great Commission, but few of us have fully grasped the beautiful and life-giving opportunity we have to fulfill the cultural mandate. Indeed, the cultural mandate is the vehicle through which our individual callings are expressed – and through which most of our waking hours find purpose. As you discover the area over which you are to “take charge” and be a co-creator with God, an incredible energy will be released and a newfound sense of significance will propel you forward.

More and more of us are awakening to the truth that we are ALL called – and most of us will find the expression of that calling in something other than traditional ministry.

Many of us formerly held the belief that to be on a mission, to be called, to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives, it had to occur through overtly spiritual activities or through traditional ministry roles. I vividly remember this in my own life – a strong sense of calling – and inherently thinking that at some point, I would enter traditional ministry in some way.

But God had other plans. He finally succeeded in penetrating my wrongheaded notions of calling. Thank God he showed me that the business world was the domain in which I was to discover, develop, and ever be growing in my understanding of personal mission!

What domain are you sensing God calling you to? Where are you to be a co-creator with the Creator of the universe?

These are important and exciting questions to ponder. Perhaps you’re called to an area in which you’re already working and living – or maybe it’s something different. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start asking the question.

It might be time to take a risk  – a leap of faith  – to begin the adventure of fulfilling your God-given destiny.

This post has been adapted from its original version appearing on

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