August 6, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture—Genesis 8:20-22 (NRSV)
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humans, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night
shall not cease.”
God is present after the disruption and he is fully engaged with his creation because the earth is his.
When disruption and destruction occur, it would seem reasonable to conclude that only death—the absence of God—is the result. In our workplace, neighborhoods, families, and elsewhere we certainly would love to avoid the disruption from a fallen world. But God has shown us repeatedly throughout scripture (and our own lives if we look carefully) that He is patient with us.
The Energizer battery company used to have a commercial with a bunny which would beat a drum. Their claim was that the bunny kept “going and going and…” beating out the same rhythm forever. God may change the rhythm, but he keeps going with the same narrative. The ground was already cursed (Genesis 3:17) and after the flood he extends common grace and does not curse it more. Instead, God extends promises that there will still be a rhythm.
When you wake up every morning (if you get up early enough) and go to bed at night—whether you step outside before the chaos of your day begins or walk outside after you’ve done the best you could, when you look up at the same sky Noah did you will get the same message of God’s covenant promise to all of humanity:
As long as the earth endures.
This earth will endure with some fruitfulness, with four seasons (which happen every few days in the Midwest), with day and night. God is present after the disruption and he is fully engaged with his creation because the earth is his. And therefore there is abundant creation around us to remind us of him. When disruption occurs it can be just as real to us to hear the voice of our Father reminding humanity “As long as the earth endures…”
After a long journey in the ark, what do you think Noah and the rest of humanity thought about when God said “as long as the earth endures?”
At the next sunrise or sunset go outside and read Genesis 8:22 three or four times. Pray between each reading, taking note of something different in God’s sustained creation before you. Ask God what you should do next with what you have seen and read.
We are finite and not able to endure like you, God. But you are gracious, and you make us dependent on you lest we destroy ourselves. We thank you for being present and involved and not just in the vicinity. Your love really does keep us through disruption. After many days of flooding, seventy years of exile, two nights of uncertainty of the Savior in a tomb, we learn that you are still there. After the destruction, you remember us, and each day draw our attention to everything that points us to you. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Exemplary Obedience, Exemplary Faith
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DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coaches leaders on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. He began his career as an architectural engineer then went on to attend seminary. In every part of his life he finds ways to infuse theology into vocation, and strengthen practical connections of faith and daily activity. DeLano lives in Kansas City, Missouri.