March 5, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Genesis 1:11-12 (NRSV)
Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.”
Whereas you might see yourself as an insignificant seed today, God sees your full potential.
In my plan for what I was going to write today, I was not going to talk about seeds. But, after I read Genesis 1:11-12, I sat back in my chair and lifted my eyes from the screen to reflect prayerfully on the text. There, in front of my eyes, were some of the most wonderful results of seeds that I have ever experienced. I’m talking about Texas bluebonnets. These flowers grow wild throughout Texas. Each year, they bloom in mid-spring, covering the fields and hills with a carpet of rich blue and white highlights. Until I moved to Texas, I had never seen anything like it. If ever there was even the slightest question about whether or not God enjoys beauty, bluebonnets ought to settle the argument in favor of divine delight.
The bluebonnets in my yard are wild, though they didn’t show up completely on their own. A few years ago, my wife scattered bluebonnets seeds in sunny places in our lawn. The next spring, they appeared, almost as if by magic. We had not watered them or fertilized them. No weeding, trimming, or pruning. The stunning flowers grew from nondescript seeds.
That’s just the way God planned it, according to Genesis 1:11-12. By his word, God created vegetation, including “plants yielding seed.” Built into creation was the ability for plants to multiply on their own. God didn’t just create flowers and fruit. He created flowers and fruit with the capability of making more flowers and fruit, which could make more flowers and fruit, and so on and so on.
As I sit, looking out at the bluebonnets grown from seed, my mind is filled with many thoughts. I’ll share one now and one more tomorrow. Today’s thought is this: bluebonnets flowers are strikingly beautiful. Bluebonnet seeds, however, are strikingly boring. They look like malnourished lentils. If I gave you a gift of bluebonnets seeds and didn’t tell you what they were, you’d probably thank me politely and throw them in the trash rather than out into your yard. Yet from such unexceptional seeds grows a most exceptional flower.
God’s ways are like this, and that’s good to remember. Whereas you might see yourself as an insignificant seed today, God sees your full potential. If you’re a manager, you have the opportunity of seeing those you supervise not just in terms of their fruitfulness but also as “seeds” with abundant potential. Are you nurturing the “seeds” entrusted to you so they might be fruitful?
As you think about the fact that God made vegetation with seeds, what strikes you as significant? Do you sense the seeds God has placed inside of you? In your organization? In the people you manage? In your family? Your church? Your city?
Gracious God, thank you for the beauty of this world. Sometimes we can get wrapped up in its pain and brokenness so much that we miss its wonders. Today we pause to thank you for the beauty of your creation (including bluebonnets!).
Moreover, we thank you for how you have made so much that is good grow from small, insignificant seeds. Help us to think of the world this way. May we envision the people in our lives in terms of their seed-potential. May we see ourselves not as we are but as the people we are becoming by your grace. Amen.
P.S. from Mark
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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 online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Creation Is of God, but Is Not Identical with God (Genesis 1:11)
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.