October 4, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture—Psalm 8:3-4 (NRSV)
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
On a starry night, David looked up at the sky and remembered the smallness of humanity. What is a person when you consider the immensity of the moon? Why do you care with such detail for human beings in ways that even the angels don’t understand? David looks at something so large it made it clear how significant we are to God. Even at night, God can use the vastness of creation to show us that we are valuable to Him.
Armadillidium vulgare. Pill bug. We called them roly-polies where I grew up (although I’m not certain of the spelling; it may be the eastern Kansas rolay-polay.) My eight-year-old mind thought they were wandering around aimlessly but apparently, they were eating meals and cleaning the ground. I’d pick them up and watch them show off by rolling into a ball, not knowing the intricate structure of this crustacean (apparently they are not insects, who knew?) was a protective mechanism for their bodies. I did not understand it, but I marveled at them in wonder. How can something so small and delicate also be so intricately designed and so strong?
It is not a small thing to consider that perhaps David was shepherding at night and became an astronomer. He looked up at a really clear sky and saw the incredible moon and stars and arrived at the same conclusion of wonder. I love Howard Thurman’s quote in Meditations of the Heart: “Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.”
It is one thing to recognize the worth of something, to turn it over and over in our hands and take in all of its intricacies. But it’s another thing when your wonder leads you to question your own value. Have you ever gazed at something so long you remember how small we are? On a starry night, David looked up at the sky and remembered the smallness of humanity. What is a person when you consider the immensity of the moon? God, why do you care with such detail for human beings in ways that even the angels don’t understand? David looks at something so large it made it clear how significant we are to God.
It is wonderful to recognize that God can find us wherever we may be and use the ordinary and often ignored parts of creation to remind us how great He is. And he can do this even at night, or even in really massive dark moments in life. The result is not a smallness that causes us to shudder in fear but leads us down the lighted path of peace.
What can you look at that reminds you how small we are?
When was the last time you felt a real sense of awe for God? What happened? What did you see?
Find something in God’s creation that you can use to cause you pause. Spend some time comparing how God cares for it and how God cares for you. Write down the comparisons. How do the details of God’s care tell you about the intricacies of God’s character? What do they tell you about his mercy and grace?
God, we are surrounded by your creation which teaches us about who you are. Help me to find my own quiet moments of remembrance, remembering that in the vastness of this universe you are also very concerned about humanity. You actually care about us, God, and I thank you for teaching us to remember it. Thank you for the specific love you show me and for teaching us to love others in the same way. Amen.
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. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Authority (Psalm 8)
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DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coaches leaders on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. He began his career as an architectural engineer then went on to attend seminary. In every part of his life he finds ways to infuse theology into vocation, and strengthen practical connections of faith and daily activity. DeLano lives in Kansas City, Missouri.