July 10, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Psalm 147:10-11 (NRSV)
His delight is not in the strength of the horse
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
We are naturally drawn to admire accomplishment. We love watching the Olympics, for example, because we get to see the finest athletes in the world perform with excellence. Though God values our giftedness and fruitfulness, God delights most of all, not in what we do, but in knowing us, in receiving our reverence and our hope. We give God joy when our hearts are devoted to the God who is devoted to us.
It’s often said that God wants us to work with excellence. Though this is surely true in a way, we miss the point if we believe that God cares most about our abilities and our performance at work. Psalm 147 reminds us that God delights, not in “strength” or “speed,” but in people who revere God and who choose to put their hope in God.
Gracious God, as I reflect on Psalm 147, I am amazed. I am amazed by the fact that I can give you pleasure. After all, you are the God of the whole universe. Yet I make a difference to you? I can give you joy! Amazing!
I know you want me to use well all that you have entrusted to me. You care about my work, its purpose and quality. Moreover, Jesus said you are glorified when I bear much fruit (John 15:8). But Psalm 147 reminds me that what matters most to you isn’t my capability or accomplishment. Rather, you care most about my relationship with you.
Help me, dear Lord, to fear you appropriately, not by being afraid of you, but by worshiping you as the one, true God in all that I do. In all things, including my daily work, may I seek to honor you, imitate you, and obey you.
Help me, dear Lord, to hope in your steadfast love. I’m so often tempted to put my hope in other things, even in myself. But hopes of this sort end up disappointing me. So, may I hope in you and your faithful love, even in my work. May I look to you for guidance, security, and joy.
As I work today, gracious God, may you delight in me because, above all, I delight in you. Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
God delights in you when you delight in God.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 147.
You may also wish to read John 15:1-17.
Banner image by Braden Collum on Unsplash.
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’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Psalm 146.
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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.