May 15, 2017 • Life for Leaders
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.
Throughout the Scriptures, God cares profoundly about justice. As it says of the Lord in Psalm 99:4, “The King is mighty, he loves justice.” In particular, God seeks justice for those who aren’t in positions of power or wealth because they lack the means to ensure justice for themselves. In Isaiah 10, the Lord condemns unjust judges and lawmakers because they “deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people” (10:2). In fact, they make “widows their prey” and rob “the fatherless,” two categories of people who were most vulnerable in ancient Israel.
Though Christians differ on exactly how we’re to seek justice in today’s world, and though we have a broad range of political views in the church, it’s clear that we must share God’s passion for justice, especially for those who are disadvantaged. In our personal lives, in our charitable giving, in our professional endeavors, in our workplace systems, and in our political activities, we must strive for justice. Simply caring about our families and ourselves is not enough if we’re going to live faithfully as the people of a God who loves justice.
Some time ago, I found myself in a conversation with a boss who needed to cut costs in his business. As he struggled with his financial challenges, he also sought to make sure his employees had enough hours to support themselves. He was looking out, not only for the good of the company, but also for the good of his workers. This is one down-to-earth expression of a godly commitment to justice.
Whatever your work, whatever your role at work, whatever authority has been entrusted to you, you can seek to “act justly” with all whom you encounter in your workplace (Micah 6:8). As you do, you can be assured that your efforts honor the Lord.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Where in your life do you have opportunities to express a commitment to justice?
How might you live out this commitment even today?
Gracious God, you are indeed a lover of justice. This passage from Isaiah reminds us of just how much you care about justice, especially for those who can’t secure it for themselves. Help us, dear Lord, to share your passion for justice and to seek justice in our lives. Guide us in our personal relationships, in our professional responsibilities, and in the exercise of our citizenship, so that we might reflect your justice in how we live.
I’m also reminded today to pray for those who serve in government. I pray for lawmakers, judges, and executives in my city, county, state, and country. Guide them in the ways of your justice. May they show special concern for the poor and needy, for widows and orphans, and for others in our world that can’t help themselves. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Doing Justice (Leviticus 19:15-16)
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.