One of the first things we see on God’s heart as he moved toward humanity is this:
We were made for community.
How is it then that it so quickly disintegrated with Adam and Eve? How is it then that something so strategically needed for us as a people group added more alienation, conflict, destruction and war?
And how is it then that running in the background of this common thread is an all pervasive deep sense of isolation, namely loneliness?
Yet we were made for community. Welcome to Office of Personhood.
Let’s look at some songs written in the lonely key of music.
Neil Sedaka sang in "Solitaire"
There was a man, a lonely man
Who lost his love, thru his indifference
A heart that cared that went unshared
Until it died within his silence...
Neil Diamond sang, “I Am”
"I am"... I cried "I am"... said I
And I am lost and I can't
Even say why
Leavin' me lonely still...
Unfortunately, but not surprising it can be worse in the church. Surrounded by people but not connecting with them or they with you is not anything new as honor flows toward giftings, skill sets and activities.
Loneliness is usually a companion of highly competent people and the solution embraced is to develop more skill and more competence.
The root problem is not more competence, the root problem is this:
Perhaps you are NOT in the offices you belong in.
There are four offices to consider:
Let’s look at the life of Leah (Genesis 29)
Leah is an example of someone although married to Jacob was not even remotely in the office of wife and she knew it. Jacob was fully in the office of husband with his wife, Rachel. Leah was never allowed to enter into the office of personhood. Let’s explore why.
WHEN SOMEONE IS TREATED AS A COMMODITY, THEY CANNOT ENTER INTO THE OFFICE OF PERSONHOOD
⦁ Due to her father’s worldview, Leah became a commodity, not a person. Seven years of wages treated her as an object, exchanged for another asset.
⦁ Tragically this was assumed as normal and natural because ‘ it is all she knew’.
⦁ She then attempted to achieve her personhood by then commoditizing her sons as was modelled for her by her father. She ached for what she could not have, to be more than a sexual object and passed the curse of commoditization down to them.
COMMODITIES vs PERSONHOOD
⦁ Commodities cannot have intimacy. You can love things like books, TV, music, travel, but this is not the same as the love for a person.
⦁ You will be valued for your character, skill set but not your personhood because we can love commodities but not have intimacy.
⦁ Loneliness is the consequence of being a commodity.
AREAS OF COMMODITIZATION
⦁ Our children can be invested in for what they are good at including sports, music, education, physical beauty.
⦁ The message to them then becomes, ‘you bring honor to this family because of __.’
⦁ Spiritual leaders need children to make them look good. At best, not to make them look bad. They, in turn, become celebrated for their voice, skill, or gifting.
⦁ Cults attract willing people to commoditize by establishing a clear set of behaviour to build their brand.
⦁ Theology rewards those with the biggest vision, fastest builders or those with mystical encounters with God. It encourages being commoditized in your relationship with God when what he wants is an intimate relationship with us.
EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE WHO WERE COMMODITIZED vs THOSE IN THE OFFICE
⦁ Commodities: Cain, Elijah, Naomi, the twelve
⦁ Office: Proverbs 31 Woman, Esther, Ruth, Luke
⦁ The marketplace culture often makes you a commodity, not a person. You are hired because your skillset could bring value to the company and when you cease to bring value, you are discarded.
⦁ Passion for commoditization and product vs people and relationships
⦁ No teamwork or connections with or how personhood fits into their bigger picture.
Who are you when you are not a commodity? When your commoditization abruptly ends and you cease being a commodity? Think of a soldier, athlete or a model. Can you go back into life and be a person when you have been a high achiever or did you become a commodity along the way?
When a child is sexually exploited and treated as a commodity she will in time begin treating herself as a commodity. Because she has not been placed in the office of personhood or in the office of daughter, now on her way to womanhood she will see herself as a body to be desired and not a person.
THIS MAY BE ALL YOU KNOW BUT THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS
It is possible to enter into the office of personhood as a child properly or to re-enter that office as an adult even though you have been savagely commoditized.
Having listened to this first CD, The Problem, what are your thoughts and emotions that bubble up? How do you relate to what is being described?
Who are you when you are not a commodity? This is certainly a revealing question. From a high achiever to an empty nester has our God given role reduced us to a commodity?
Can you give an example of the culture defining who you are by your assets?
I savored the story of Esther. The epiphany of commoditization but keeping her personhood in tact. Do you have a similar story?
Leave a blessing, encourage one another.
We would love to hear from you