May 22, 2020 • Life for Leaders
Scripture: Psalm 23:1-3 (NRSV)
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
As I work today, I ask the Lord, my Good Shepherd, to lead me in every decision, every action, and every word. May my work bring glory to God today.
In Psalm 23, God is our shepherd, the one who cares for us in tangible ways. Twice the psalm writer says that the Lord “leads” him, using two different Hebrew verbs with similar meaning. God leads him “beside still waters” so that he might be refreshed and restored (Psalm 23:2). God also leads him “in right paths for his name’s sake.” The classic translation of the King James Version reads, “he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).
The “right paths” or “paths of righteousness” are not limited to what we might call the “religious” or the “personal” spheres of life. Rather, they are all-inclusive. The promise of Psalm 23 is that God will lead us in “the right direction” in every part of life (following the wording of The Message). Thus, the “right paths” of this psalm have everything to do with our daily work: the actions we take, the decisions we make, the words we speak.
Notice also that the Lord leads us in right paths “for his name’s sake.” In Scripture God’s name often stands in for God’s own identity. It can also represent God’s reputation or honor. The point here is that God leads us in the right direction, not only because he cares for us, but also to glorify himself. When we do what’s right, when we act in ways consistent with God’s own righteousness, then God will is done and God’s glory is celebrated.
Gracious God, thank you for being my shepherd. Because you care for me, I have all I need. I can be rested and refreshed. I can follow your trustworthy lead. I don’t have to worry even in the darkest valley. You provide for me in marvelous ways and fill my life with your goodness and mercy. Because of your grace, I will live in relationship with you my whole life long. Thank you!
Today, Lord, I ask you to shepherd me in a very particular way. Please, Lord, lead me in right paths in my work. Help me make wise decisions at all times, but especially when my human wisdom falls short. Teach me to seek your justice in all my relationships as well as in the systems of my workplace.
Guide me especially in this season in which so much is unknown because of the coronavirus and its economic implications.
May the way I work bring honor to your name. May all of my choices, actions, and words be consistent with your will. May my colleagues see evidence of your guidance and grace as I work. May the fruit of my labor glorify you. 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: Psalm 23 for Busy People
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.