May 18, 2015 • Life for Leaders
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
Perhaps you can relate to the following scenario: You’re overseeing a complicated project, one with many steps and stages. As some of these are completed, you look upon what has been accomplished with a feeling of pride. “This is pretty good,” you think to yourself. But you know there’s much more to be done so you don’t stop too long to congratulate yourself. Finally, all the parts are done. The project is finished. You step back to take in the whole and say, “Wow! This is very good!”
That’s rather like the picture of God in Genesis 1. As God creates the various elements of the universe, he pauses along the way to see that it is good. This happens six times throughout the narrative. Yet, after creating human beings, God surveys “everything he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (1:31). In the Hebrew original of this verse, the use of “indeed” (hinneh, traditionally translated as “behold”) and “very” (meod) emphasize the goodness of God’s creation. It is not just good, but very good, excellent, outstanding. God gives himself an ‘A’ for what he has made.
Why is this so important for us? Because many of us come from a tradition of thought that minimizes or even denies the basic goodness of the material world. I remember a time in my life when I thought of this world as having value only as the staging area for Heaven. I did not see it as something God might regard as good, not to mention very good. Activities like ordinary work had value only inasmuch as they helped get individuals to Heaven. Now, I still believe in the wonders of life after this life. Don’t get me wrong. But Scripture itself, passages like Genesis 1 and so many others, reveal God’s great care for and delight in this world. And if God values his creation so much as to call it “very good,” shouldn’t you and I do the same?
To be sure, sin messes up God’s very good world. We’ll get to this part of the story in Genesis 3. But, for now, I’d encourage us to reflect on the implications of God’s looking upon all that he had made and saying that it was “very good.”
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
In what ways do you experience the “very goodness” of this world? How do you experience the “very goodness” of creation in your work? In your leadership? If the core of creation is very good, what difference might this make in how you live today?
Gracious God, what an amazing picture of your response to creation. You looked upon what you had made and saw that it was very good. I can only begin to imagine your delight in that moment. How I praise you for the wonders of your very good creation!
Lord, help me to live this day with your perspective, not ignoring what is broken in this world, not neglecting those who suffer, but seeing the “very goodness” you built into the original creation. In all I do this day, may I add in some small measure to this goodness.
To you be all the glory, 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.