June 30, 2015 • Life for Leaders
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth . . . And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.”
As we look back upon Genesis 1-2, we see that God created us for community. This community is epitomized in the relationship of man and woman, which, among other things, made possible the growth of community as the first humans were fruitful and multiplied.
In Genesis 1, God created humankind in God’s own image as male and female. Community was built in from the start, an essential element of human life. In Genesis 2, the creation of human beings is seen from a different perspective. God created the man first. But then God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner” (2:18). There it is, plain as day: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” God creates us for relationship, for fellowship, for community.
Now you may want to say, “Wait a minute! The man wasn’t alone. He had God. In fact, his relationship with God was unstained by sin at this point in the story. The man and God could walk together in the garden, experiencing an intimacy we can only imagine. Why, then, would God say that the man was alone? Wasn’t relationship with God enough?”
Apparently not, from God’s point of view. God created the man for relationship with others, most pointedly, for relationship with the woman who would soon be made from his own body. Humankind reflects God’s image mostly fully in relationship, the male/female relationship in the first place, and later the relationships shared among all of God’s people.
As I listen to leaders from a broad range of disciplines, I’m impressed by how many speak of the isolation and loneliness of leadership. To be sure, there is a time when the buck stops at our desk and we need to make tough decisions that might contribute to our experience of loneliness. But, if we take seriously the fact that we have been created for community, I wonder how this might affect our patterns and practices of leadership. Might God be saying to us as leaders, “It’s not good for you to be alone”?
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Where have you experienced significant community with others?
Who are the people in your life who help you not to feel isolated in your leadership?
What do you do as a leader to nurture healthy community?
Gracious God, thank you for creating us for community. We are greatly blessed, of course, to be in relationship with you. But, by your grace, you have also given us each other. In our community with other humans, we experience so many of life’s gifts. In a way, we share in your own community as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Help us, Lord, to think about our lives and our leadership from your perspective. Teach us what it means to be in community together. Help us to challenge cultural assumptions that isolate us. By your Spirit, bind us together as your people. May our sharing of life and leadership together be an example to the world of the truth of the gospel. Amen.
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.