February 8, 2017 • Life for Leaders
“The most important [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
In my last few Life for Leaders devotions, I’ve been working with you on how we can love God at work with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Today, we get to the last of the four aspects of love for God. According to Jesus, who quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5, we are to love God with all of our “strength.” We are to do this in every part of life, including our daily work.
The call to love God with our strength reminds us that we use our bodies when we work. In fact, it is only through using our bodies that we can do work at all. This is obvious when it comes to manual labor. But our bodies are needed even if we spend most of our time sitting at a desk. In this case, we are using our brains to think, our ears to hear, our eyes to see, our mouths to talk, our fingers to pound away endlessly on our keyboards, and our thumbs to text when we can’t get to our computers.
The fact that we are to love God with all our strength underscores the fact that God cares about our bodies and what we do with them. God is not just concerned with what we think and feel. Rather, God gave us bodies so that we might use them well for his purposes. Through our bodies we can be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. (Gen 1:28). Through our bodies we work and take care of God’s creation (Gen 2:15).
Perhaps the passage in Scripture that most pointedly highlights the importance of our bodies in our relationship with God is Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice to God – this is your true and proper worship.” When we use our bodies, or, one could say, when we exercise our strength out of love for God, then we are engaged in “true and proper worship.”
We can do this at work. We can do this through our work. We can offer all the work that we do with our bodies to God as worship. Thus, we can love God by doing our work for his pleasure and glory.
Tomorrow, I’ll suggest some practical implications of this amazing truth. For now, let me encourage you to reflect on your own work and how it can be a way to love the Lord. The following questions might help.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do you use your body in your work?
Do you ever think of the things you do with your body at work as an offering of love to God? Why or why not?
What might help you to think of your work in this way?
Are you ready to love God through the physical actions of your work?
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of our bodies, through which we can do good work, work offered to you as worship. Thank you for calling us to love you with all that we are and all that we do. Help us learn to love you in every part of life, in every thought and every deed. May we love you in our work. And may our work be a context for us to learn how to love you more. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary.
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.