January 10, 2016 • Life for Leaders
The earth is the LORD’S and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;”
Psalm 24 can change your life. It can change the way you lead. It can change how you work and how you think about your work. Psalm 24 can make all the difference in the world . . . literally.
Please allow me to explain what I mean.
Psalm 24 begins by proclaiming that the earth belongs to God, including everything and every person in the world. His ultimate ownership of the entire earth derives from the fact that he created it in the first place (v. 2).
Why does this simple, and perhaps even obvious, truth matter so much? First of all, God’s ownership of the earth means that he values it profoundly. What happens in this world matters to God. God is not concerned only about otherworldly matters. Nor is God interested only in “spiritual” things and not material things. Many religions, and even some varieties of Christianity, denigrate this world and seek only the saving of spirits out of this world. But full-fledged biblical Christianity cares for the world and its inhabitants because they belong to God and matter so much to God. We look forward in hope to the new creation, when God will restore the world and renew its people.
As we wait for this renewal of all things, we honor God the creator by caring for his creation. Through our work, whether for pay or not, we have the opportunity to obey God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and govern it (Gen. 1:28). When we seek the best for this world and its people, we are fulfilling our created purpose and serving the earth’s true owner.
God’s ownership of and care for the earth underscores the value of our work. All too often, Christians believe that the only work that really matters is church work, evangelism, missionary work, and the like. There is no doubt about the value of this kind of work. But when we tend to the world that belongs to God, when we help it to flourish, when we serve those who live in God’s world, then our work has heavenly value. Each day, no matter our specific tasks, we have the opportunity to work for the one who owns all things, including us.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How does God’s ownership of the earth affect your life?
In what way does your work — including your contributions to your family, your volunteer efforts, your service in your church, your job, etc. — contribute to the flourishing of God’s creation?
Gracious God, today I’m reminded that this earth belongs to you, every bit of it. You created it. You care for it. You have redeemed it. And someday you will renew it.
I thank you for the gift of this earth, for its beauty and bounty. Even though sin has stained this world, it has not erased the clear evidence of your creative mastery.
Help me, dear Lord, to honor you by taking care of the earth and its people. May I see everything and every person in this world as belonging to you. Teach me to look upon this earth with your eyes. Help me to do all of my work for you and your purposes. To you be all the glory. Amen.
An earlier version of this devotion appeared at The High Calling. It is used with permission under a Creative Commons license.
Image Credit: “Greenhouse- Stearns Farm CSA, Framingham” by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via Flickr, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
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.