June 8, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
At one time or another, most of us have asked the question, “What should I study if I want good work?” We may have asked this question as we pondered possible majors in college. Or it may have been when we considered some kind of vocational education. Or perhaps we were looking at options for graduate school. Or maybe we were wondering about returning to school after raising a family. No matter the context, we have tried to figure out what kind of education would support our desire to do good work, work that matters, work that fulfills us while making a difference in the world.
Psalm 111 offers a surprising answer to the question, “What should I study if I want good work?” Verse 2 reads, “Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” The first part of this verse extols the “works” of God. You might well say it focuses on God’s own work, on what God does in the world. And what does this divine work include? Surely part of God’s work is creation itself, the forming and upholding of the natural world. But Psalm 111 draws our attention to God’s work on behalf of his people, giving them food, land, trustworthy laws, and redemption from slavery. All of these works are part of God’s work.
The second half of verse 2 adds that God’s works are “pondered by all who delight in them.” It’s not enough simply to enjoy God’s blessings, though we certainly ought to “delight” in the things God does. The psalmist invites us to “ponder” God’s works. The Hebrew verb translated here as “ponder” is darash, which is the basic verb meaning “to seek.” In our context, it means “to ponder” (NIV) or “to study” (ESV, NRSV). The Message reads, “GOD’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!”
God’s works are indeed worth a lifetime of study. This endeavor will certainly enrich our understanding of God and add to our joy. But it will also help us know how we can work better, how we can work with more meaning. If you want good work, why not study the work of the greatest Worker of all? You don’t even have to apply for admission to God’s school. His work is before you each day, as you marvel at the clouds or notice the leaves beginning to change in early fall. God’s work is displayed prominently throughout Scripture. God’s work is celebrated as we gather with his people for worship and as we come together to his table.
What should you study if you want good work? Study the work of God and delight in it!
Something to Think About:
When you think of God’s work, what comes to mind?
When you begin to reflect on God’s work, what seems significant to you?
How might your work today be shaped by God’s work in the cosmos and in history?
Something to Do:
Set aside a few minutes today to ponder God’s work. Discover how this might inform and shape your work.
Gracious God, when I stand back to gaze upon your work, I am astounded. I consider the vast expanse of the heavens, the rich hues of a sunset, the intricacy of every leaf, every blade of grass. Your work boggles my mind and fills my heart with wonder.
Then there’s your work in history, beginning with the creation of human beings. You remain faithful when we have been faithless, redeeming and caring for us, molding us by your merciful strength to become more like what you created us to be. You have shown us your love most of all in Jesus Christ. How great and gracious are your works, Lord.
Even as I delight in all you have done, may I learn from your work how I might work. Help me be a person of vision and creativity. Teach me to care about the small things as well as the big things. May my work be an expression of grace as you work through me to bless others. By studying your work, Lord, may I work more like you. Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
The Foundation of Wisdom
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.