February 5, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture—Genesis 3:8-9 (NRSV)
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
God knows all, and like most fathers and mothers he knows where his children are. The immediate consequences of sin could have been really ugly. Instead of angels guarding the garden, he could have sent angels to destroy or flood it. He could have burned the fig trees, or set the snakes on Adam and Eve. Instead, he came into the garden asking questions.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we saw that in Genesis 3 there was a good garden and a good man and woman but something was amiss. God was present, Adam and Eve were present but something was already off. Humanity ate fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and disrupted the economy of every relationship. Humanity now does not understand God, him or herself, each other, or creation.
The unfolding story of God’s creation features two cases of irony. Yesterday we talked about the irony in the decision of Adam and Eve to hide. Perhaps they didn’t know it yet, but you really can’t hide from God. The second irony is God’s question in itself. God knows all and like most fathers and mothers he knows where his children are. The immediate consequences of sin could have been really ugly. Instead of angels guarding the garden God could have sent angels to destroy or flood it. He could have burned the fig trees, or set the snakes on Adam and Eve. Instead, he came into the garden asking questions.
Where he could have come into the garden dragging them out, he came trying to draw them out. God was present, Adam and Eve and creation were present. But something was amiss. And God asked Adam in his present leadership a question that directly applies for all of humanity: Where are you? The situation really begs the question of “Why are you hiding?” Which was how Adam answered. But the Lord is a good father and a good shepherd dealing with wayward sheep and a fallen creation that he is maturing. He is moving humanity and creation toward knowing that it was all made for his son and by his son (Colossians 1:16-17). This is a horrific situation but the character of God in Genesis 3 tells us that his presence is already rewinding the relationship between himself and humanity.
Do you hear the sound of God wandering through the Garden? Does it scare you? It may not be the theophany that Adam and Eve or Abraham or even Jacob experienced. How God chooses to be present is significant as well as why and what he does in his presence. It is good to be near God and all you need is his presence (Psalm 73:28.) He leads you to recognize his timeless truth in the midst of the chaos you find yourself working through this week. Those moments ask of us: where we are with the chaos? And do we get to what is best by hiding?
Leaders are influenced by God’s presence. With a Gospel lens, we see God’s presence in every circumstance and the possibility of him winding things back into order. We see that he does not always come to destroy you or others. Perhaps he comes to put things back where they need to be. Perhaps he is moving things where they need to be in order to move everything where it will be in glory.
Where are you in your work? What is going well and where do you see God involved in your work?
A Barna report states that about half of adults (57%) believe that understanding one’s calling is primarily a solo journey. How often do you recognize (or seek for) God’s presence in your work?
Consider one part of your work where you have missed God’s presence. Lean into that area with prayer and scripture. If God is really present how might that affect the work you are doing in that space?
God, when we come into our workplaces, recreation or homes make us children who look for your presence. Remind us that your engagement with creation is incredibly important even in the most mundane moments in life. And give us redemptive eyes to see what can be based on your character. In Jesus’s name, 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 Theology of Work Project. An article on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Genesis 3 and the Birth of Sin
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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.