April 9, 2015 • Life for Leaders
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”
For several years, I was the senior director of Laity Lodge, a unique retreat center in the Texas Hill Country. Laity Lodge sits in a canyon alongside the Frio River, far away from the bustle of civilization. The nearest town, Leakey, which has about 400 residents, is 13 miles away. San Antonio, the closest city of significant size, is 80 miles away as the crow flies. Thus, Laity Lodge offers something rare in today’s world, the chance to get truly away from the demands, pressures, intrusions, and cacophonies of ordinary life.
One of the magnificent gifts of Laity Lodge is the chance to see the sky as we rarely see it. During the daytime, the vast, deep blue sky is often dotted with fluffy clouds, if not darkened by an occasional thunderstorm. Climbing out of the canyon in the evening, you see one of the most stunning sunsets of your life. But, what I found most awe-inspiring of all were the skies during crystal clear nights. The vast panoply of Heaven was so vivid, so bright, and so textured that it seemed as if it were just beyond the reach of my hand. Yet, I knew I was seeing things so far away I could never truly comprehend the distance. Every now and then, I couldn’t help but gasp at the beauty of the heavens.
Genesis 1 teaches us that this beauty didn’t just happen. It isn’t some fortuitous result of some impersonal Big Bang. Rather, God “created the heavens and earth” (Gen 1:1). Later in this chapter, we’ll learn that God also created everything that fills the universe, including the sun, the moon, and the rest of the celestial bodies. God is responsible for the functionality of the universe, for all that holds it together and enables it to flourish. But God is also responsible for the stirring, moving, mind-expanding, heart-filling beauty of the natural world. God the Creator demonstrates creativity far beyond anything we could imagine. And we get to delight in the fruit of this creativity, to observe it with wonder, to taste it with joy.
These days, we hear a lot about creativity. We rightly honor those whose creative abilities enrich our world. We recognize how essential creativity is for all sectors of life, including business, education, and the church, in addition to the arts. Organizational leaders seek to create spaces for creative thinking, discovery, and innovation. All of this can be quite good. Yet, we miss out if we focus simply on human creativity, however wonderful it might be. The opening verses of Genesis join the chorus of the heavens, inviting us to marvel at the creativity of the One who designed all things, including us and our capacity for creative work. Amazed by the creation, we bow in humble awe before the Creator.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Where and when have you been overwhelmed by the creativity of God? When you pause to consider God’s creativity, what do you think? What do you feel? How might the creativity of God make a difference in your life today?
O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens. . . .
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet. . . .
O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth! Amen.
(Psalm 8:1, 3-6, 9)
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.