April 23, 2015 • Life for Leaders
Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.”
In yesterday’s devotion, we reflected on the fact that God created fruit, such as the delicious peaches grown in the Texas Hill Country. Every single peach from this region reflects God’s design and creative power.
Yet, God does not work alone to grow peaches, though I suppose that wild peaches exist somewhere. The vast majority of peaches, however, including those grown in Texas, are the result of God’s creative power and plenty of human effort.
In 1921, a surveyor and schoolteacher named Benjamin Lester Enderle was trying to find a way to pay his bills. He and his wife planted a few peach trees on a small tract of land near Fredericksburg, Texas, where they lived. It turned out that this land was perfect for peach growing. Soon, the Enderles were producing far more than they could sell by themselves. So, Benjamin Enderle teamed up with this childhood friend, Howard E. Butt, who ran a small grocery business in the Hill Country. The rest, as they say, is history. Peach growing became a flourishing business in this part of Texas and, today, Howard Butt’s modest grocery business features over 300 stores in Texas, offering plenty of peaches and grossing more than $20 billion each year.
To be sure, God gets the main credit for Hill Country peaches. He invented them, so to speak. Moreover, God created the conditions for their growth. But, were it not for the efforts of Benjamin Enderle and hundreds of other farmers, and Howard E. Butt and hundreds of grocery store folk, not to mention those who make farm equipment, build roads, drive trucks, and so on, there wouldn’t be any Hill Country peaches.
I know I’m getting a bit ahead in the story of Genesis, but I think it’s worth noting at this point that God has partners in his business of peach growing. Indeed, God has partners in all of his earthly businesses, including you and me.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you ever think of yourself as a partner in God’s business? If so, what has helped you to think this way? If not, why not? Do you consider your daily work one of God’s businesses? Why or why not?
Gracious God, as we thank you today for the lusciousness of Hill Country peaches, we also thank you for those who have made them possible. Thank you for Benjamin Enderle and his wife, for Howard E. Butt and his wife, and for all who grow, harvest, distribute, and sell those wonderful peaches.
Thank you, Lord, for the privilege we have of partnering with you in the business of growing fruit, both literal and metaphorical fruit. Thank you for including us in your work, so that we might find meaning in our lives and delight in the goodness that our efforts help to produce.
Today, Lord, may I live consciously as your partner. And may I be thankful for the labors of your other partners as I enjoy the goodness of this world and share in the goodness of work. Amen.
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.