April 30, 2015 • Life for Leaders
Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
In yesterday’s devotion, we began to consider the astounding truth that we are like God. God made human beings in God’s own image and likeness. Even though sin has tarnished that image, as we’ll see in Genesis 3, we still reflect and embody the divine image.
I mentioned yesterday that theologians differ considerably in their understanding of what God’s image actually entails. Some try to identify this image with certain human qualities, such as rationality or spirituality. Others see God’s image more holistically, represented by unified human beings.
While the effort to capture the nuances of God’s image is a worthy endeavor, I believe we are on solid theological ground if we glimpse the divine image through the story of creation in Genesis 1. The image given to us by the narrative shows that God is the creator, both all-powerful and wonderfully imaginative. God is a worker who makes all things good, thereby revealing God’s own goodness. God is sovereign over all creation because he made it according to his own will.
Therefore, if we bear God’s image as human beings, then we will also be creative, using our power and imagination within the limits of our creatureliness. Like God, we will be workers, making good things from the good stuff of God’s world. We will exercise sovereignty over creation as God’s delegates. Of course, as we read on in Genesis, we’ll see that these are the activities God assigns to human beings. Thus, whatever else it means for us to bear God’s image, this reality of our created identity helps to define who we are and clarify what we’re to do on this earth.
Today, as you have the chance to be creative, you are being like God. As you work, doing that which is good, you reflect God’s image. As you exercise leadership over some part of God’s creation, you are living as one who is like God. May all you do today express the truth that you are like God.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
In what areas of life are you able to be creative? How does your work contribute goodness to the world? Where do you exercise leadership? Do you ever think of these activities as a reflection of God’s image and likeness? How might this perspective affect your work today?
Gracious God, I’m quite sure I will never even begin to fathom the full truth of your image and likeness. Still, I thank you for revealing yourself to your people through Scripture. Today, I’m grateful for the image of you we see in Genesis 1. I praise you for being the almighty creator, the worker who brings all things into existence, the sovereign over all that you have made.
With wonder, I thank you for making human beings in your image and likeness. Whatever else this means, it surely invites us into a life of creativity, work, and leadership. Thank you for honoring us as bearers of your image. Thank you for inviting us to share in your labors. May I do so today with gratitude and faithfulness. Amen.
Photo credit: 10-minute city built on Mark Roberts’s office floor while he was out; by Catherine Beaton.
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.