July 9, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Psalm 146:5-9 (NRSV)
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Psalm 146 celebrates the work of God, noting many of the ways God is at work in the world. The God who does so many wonderful things is the same God who has created us as workers so that we might share in God’s work.
Psalm 146 celebrates the work of God in the world. Not only is God the one who created all things, but also God executes justice, feeds the hungry, frees the prisoners, heals blind eyes, lifts up the lowly, loves the righteous, cares for strangers, upholds orphans and widows, and brings judgment on the wicked.
How does God do this work? Of course, God sometimes miraculously. The Lord fed the hungry Israelites in the wilderness, for example, through the supernatural provision of manna. But, ordinarily, God, does the work celebrated in Psalm 146 through human beings. In our work, we have the opportunity to share in the work of God. These days, the hungry are fed not by miraculous manna, but through the labor of farmers, pickers, truckers, store owners, cooks, waiters, and so many others. Those who struggle to find sufficient food are often helped through the human work of food kitchens, food banks, churches, and hundreds of charitable organizations.
Businesses also can contribute to feeding the hungry. I think, for example, of the HEB Grocery Company, with which I was quite familiar when I lived in Texas. HEB sells healthy, tasty, reasonably-priced food to millions of people in Texas and Mexico through their grocery stores. They do this work with excellence, having recently been recognized as the top grocery company in the U.S. But HEB also cares for people with limited incomes, folks who often aren’t able to get the food they need. In the last three decades, the company has donated over one billion pounds of grocery items to food banks throughout Texas.
Most of us won’t be able to make such a major difference in the world, but in whatever we’re doing, in whatever work God has given to us, we have the opportunity to serve others, to honor them, to provide excellent products and services, and to make sure that our work helps those who need some extra help.
Gracious God, thank you for the work you do in this world. Thank you for creating all things and entrusting your creation to us. Thank you for choosing to work in and through us, and for giving us the opportunity to partner with you in your work in this world.
As you help me in my work, dear Lord, may I help others in your name. May I be especially attentive to those who might be ignored. May I be an encourager to all of my co-workers, not just those with strategic value to me. May I use my authority to raise up others, helping them to grow and flourish. And where I have influence, may I help to shape my organization in ways that reflect your justice, mercy, and love. Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
You have been invited to share in God’s good work in the world.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 146.
You may also wish to read Genesis 1.
Banner image by Karsten Winegeart 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.