September 8, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Psalm 102:11-12 (NRSV)
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
your name endures to all generations.
What you do in your work matters. But you won’t last forever. Only God endures to all generations. Thus, you are encouraged to do your work for God’s purposes and glory. Invest your labor in what will never pass away.
When I was a boy, I often shopped at Woolworths. When I left for college, I flew across the country on TWA. My first computer was a Compaq. When my kids were growing up, we bought their Christmas presents at Toys R Us, rented dozens of movies from Blockbuster, and bought CDs at Tower Records. During that time, I was pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church.
Today, Woolworths is no more. TWA doesn’t exist either. Compaq is gone, as are Toys R Us and Blockbuster. I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD, and Tower Records bit the dust. The church I once pastored dwindled in size and merged with another church. The remnant of my congregation is now part of a church called Shepherd’s Grove.
When I think of all the institutions that have disappeared during my lifetime, I’m reminded that the things of this world are not permanent. That includes the work I do. Yes, I believe my work matters. It matters to me. It matters to those I serve. And it matters to God. But the time will come when my work will “wither away like grass.”
That could be reason for despair. But the transience of this world is not the whole story. As the psalm writer says, “But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations” (Psalm 102:12). God continues on. God lasts forever. If I do my work for God’s purposes and glory, then it has eternal value . . . even if the earthly fruit of my work doesn’t last. God’s delight in me and my work will last forever.
Gracious God, sometimes I get so wrapped up in my work as if it is the thing that matters most in life. I want to do good work. I want my work to make a difference in the world. Indeed, my work does matter. But it won’t last forever. Indeed, I won’t last forever. The time will come when I will wither away like grass. My mortality will catch up with me. I will return to the dust from which I have come.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever. Your name endures to all generations. You will not pass away. You will never disappear. You will be sovereign over all things forever and ever.
Help me, I pray, to work for what will last. Help me to work for you, to do what I do for your delight. May my work be not only an opportunity for fruitfulness but also a chance to grow in relationship with you.
All praise be to you, O Lord. Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
Though your work matters, only God lasts forever.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 102.
You may also wish to read Ecclesiastes 1:1-11.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling, hosted at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: God, Answer Me Quickly!
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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.