Life For Leaders

Life for Leaders is our digitally delivered devotional, sent every day.
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The Surprising Truth of God’s Incomplete Creation

Here’s some life-changing good news. You have been asked by the Creator of the universe to help finish the work he began. God has the capacity, of course, to complete the job without you. But in his grace and providence, God has chosen to delegate to you a significant aspect of his creative and sustaining work.

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What Is Our Purpose? The Cultural Mandate

Genesis 1:28 gives us the very first biblical answers to our defining questions of life. We learn that human beings were created in God’s image so as to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion . . . .” Theologians sometimes refer to this collection of imperatives as the “cultural mandate” (or the “creation mandate”). God created human beings so that we might make, shape, and steward culture.

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An Extraordinary Vision of Human Royalty

If, like me, you’ve been a Christian for a while, you might find the insights of Genesis 1:28 to be obvious. It’s easy for us to assume that the biblical understanding of human life is rather ordinary, shared by most people across the world throughout history.

The truth is strikingly different, however. Many philosophies and religious traditions do not value human life in the mode of Genesis 1

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Do We Have Permission to Junk Up the World?

When I was in college, I used to jog along the Charles River, a scenic waterway separating Cambridge from Boston, Massachusetts. The river was indeed wonderful to observe, but woe to anyone who happened to enter its waters. The Charles was so polluted with factory waste and other kinds of refuse that students were warned never to even wade in it. Should someone happen to fall in, that person was strongly exhorted to take a quick shower and get a tetanus shot (really!). Fish and birds who used the river failed to thrive and most died. It always seemed to me terribly sad that human beings had ruined such a gorgeous river.

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Fruitfulness and Jesus

Before moving on from the command in Genesis 1:28 to be fruitful, I’d like to examine how Jesus uses this language in John 15. There, fruitfulness serves, not in its literal sense, but as a metaphor for a life that is productive for God and his kingdom. According to Jesus, we who believe in him are to “bear much fruit and become [his] disciples” (John 1:8). When we do this, God the Father is glorified.

How do we bear much fruit for the Lord?

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A Prayer for Mother’s Day

For the last several days, I’ve been reflecting on the imperative in Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful.” Most recently, I was focusing on literal fruitfulness, that is, on bearing and raising children, something in which all members of God’s family participate either directly by having children of their own or as partners with parents in the family of God.

I was planning to move on in Genesis today, but then I realized that it is Mother’s Day in the United States.

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Literal Fruitfulness and the Body of Christ

In the last few days, I have been reflecting on the command in Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful.” In yesterday’s devotion, I talked about the importance of literal fruitfulness, that is, the bearing and raising of children. I am concerned that what I said, no matter how important it may be for some, might appear to leave out people who are not parents. Was I suggesting that people without children cannot experience the fruitfulness God intends for them?

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Further Reflections on Fruitfulness

For the last few of days, we have been pondering the imperative in Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful.” Though this verse can be read as an invitation for us to live fruitfully in a metaphorical sense, literally it tells human beings to make more human beings, to make babies, as it were. In yesterday’s devotion, I reflected on some implications of this for sexuality, which is part of God’s good creation. Today, I want to consider one further implication of the command “Be fruitful.”

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Reflections on Fruitfulness

In yesterday’s devotion, we began to consider the imperative in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful.” We saw that, taken literally, this decree instructed the man and the woman to be physically fruitful, that is, to have children. In this way, they would multiply, making more people, who would make more people, ultimately filling the earth.

I would like to reflect a bit more with you on the command, “Be fruitful.”

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What Does It Mean to Be Fruitful?

After God created humankind as male and female, he blessed them and gave them instructions: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion . . .” (1:28). The first imperative given to human beings is “be fruitful.” What does this mean?

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You Were Made to Make a Difference

My friend Paul worked hard for decades, achieving considerable success as a leader in education and business. Finally, Paul retired with the hope of enjoying the benefits of the “good life” he had earned through his considerable efforts. In particular, he looked forward to playing lots of golf. That’s exactly what Paul did. Soon he became a superior golfer, winning dozens of tournaments. But Paul was not happy in the way he had expected. Though he had ample time for golf and relaxation, he was not fulfilled. So Paul decided to go back to work, taking up real estate as a new profession. He wanted to get back to making a difference in the world beyond making birdies and accumulating golf trophies. He loved the idea of helping people find just the right house for their needs.

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God Bless(ed) You!

We naturally assume that it’s a good thing to be blessed. But, during my years in Texas, I realized that “bless” can have various nuances. If a Texan ever says to you, “Bless your heart,” that turns out not to be completely good. The phrase “Bless your heart” carries an assumption that something bad is happening in your life or that you’re a person with some kind of defect. “Bless your heart” might really mean “Bless your heart [because you just lost your job]” or “Bless you heart [because you don’t have any friends].”

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