May 12, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture Reading: Psalm 92:12-15 (NRSV)
The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the LORD;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
In old age they still produce fruit;
they are always green and full of sap,
showing that the LORD is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
If you want to flourish in your life, including your work, live in right relationship with God, and through God with people and the world.
If you’re familiar with the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative, you’ve seen this portion of Psalm 92 many times. It is the theological foundation for our work with older adults. We take seriously the promise that the righteous will flourish and be fruitful even “in old age” (Psalm 92:14).
However, Psalm 92:12-15 does not speak only to folks in the third third of life. It is relevant to all of us, no matter our age. What this psalm makes crystal clear is that if we want to flourish, that is, if we want to live fully and fruitfully, then we need to be righteous. Biblically speaking, righteousness isn’t only a matter of doing the right things (and avoiding the wrong ones). More deeply, righteousness means living in right relationship, first with God, and then, through God with others and with the world.
As Christians, we understand that righteousness is not something we can do in our own strength. We need God’s help, and God generously provides the help we need through Jesus. As it says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” When we are made right with God through Christ, we are also empowered to live rightly. This leads to a life of flourishing, beginning when we are young and continuing throughout all of life.
Gracious God, thank you for the fact that through Christ you have made us righteous. Apart from your grace, we would be lost. But because of what you have given us through Christ, we can experience right relationship with you and with others. Thank you!
God, help me to live rightly each day: at work and at home, among my friends and my family, in my neighborliness, my citizenship, and my financial stewardship.
I ask, in particular, that you help me to live in right relationship with you and others in my work. May the relationship I have with you spill over into my relationships with my colleagues and clients, my customers and competitors.
As I live rightly by your grace, I ask you to help me flourish, Lord. May I live fully and fruitfully in you. May my labor be not in vain. May my work reflect that fact that you are working in and through me.
As I get older, Lord, help me not to believe that cultural narrative that assumes I will no longer be fruitful. Instead, may I live in relationship with you such that I bear fruit even when I am old.
All praise and glory and honor be to you, O God, because you have given me the gift of righteousness through Christ, and because through this righteousness I am able to flourish in every part of life. Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
The righteous flourish like the palm tree.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 92.
You may want to check out the De Pree Center’s Third Third Initiative. In particular, you might find this article helpful: “Flourishing in the Third Third of Life: The Promise of Psalm 92.”
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Here’s an Experiment: Frame Your Day With God’s Love and Faithfulness
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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.