September 3, 2015 • Life for Leaders
Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to become a mighty warrior. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.’ The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar.”
When I was a boy, I did not want to be a nimrod. In the community of my upbringing, the word “nimrod” was equivalent to “idiot” or “stupidhead.” If a friend said to me, “You nimrod!” that meant I had done or said something especially foolish.
Interestingly enough, the word “nimrod” did not originally have such a connotation. In Ancient Israel, this word, the name of a son of Cush, who was a grandson of Noah, had a very positive connotation. If someone was particularly adept at hunting or warfare, that person was said to be “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD” (Gen 10:9). “Before the LORD” in this case means something like “indeed” or “very much.” God himself knew that Nimrod was skilled in the use of weapons.
The case of Nimrod makes me wonder about my own reputation. How might the people in my life fill in this sentence: “That person is like Mark, a _________ before the Lord”? Would they say “loving husband and father”? Perhaps “good boss”? Or “caring pastor”? Maybe “effective Bible teacher” or “faithful disciple of Jesus”? Of course, these are the things I would hope for. But I wonder how people really think of me. What characterizes my life? (I rather hope they wouldn’t say, “That person is like Mark, a big nimrod.”)
How am I known “before the Lord”? The people around me get a glimpse of my heart from my words and deeds. But God sees everything. I wonder how the Lord would sum up my life?
And what might people say about you? If they were going to sum up your existence in a short phrase, what would it be? Let me encourage you to take time to consider this question along with a few others.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
So, how might those who know you sum up your life? What would your friends say? Your family? Your coworkers? Your neighbors?
How do you feel about these summations? Is this how you’d like to be known?
Most importantly, how does God see you? How would you like God to see you?
Gracious God, help me to live in such a way that I am known for what matters most. May I live and speak with integrity before you, so that my life reflects your presence and your call upon me.
All glory be to you, O God. Amen.
Photo by KHarold (WMF) (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.
I enjoy many of Mark D. Roberts postulations. I appreciate the conceptual visualizations as well as his theological considerations as they’re being presented for us to explore in both contemplation & reflection. I like where he is leading me & I often find his writing simultaneously provocative & comforting. Most of the things Mark is saying are quite a distance from the things I’m usually thinking about, & I like that, too !
Thanks, Ben, for your kind and encouraging words!