May 20, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Psalm 63:1 (NRSV)
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
For me, reading Psalm 63 feels like spending time with a dear, old friend. Why? Because the first four verses of this Psalm regularly fill my morning prayers. I don’t remember exactly when I started praying them each day. I do remember, however, that it was a time in which my soul was parched.
The dryness in my life had to do with distance from God, for sure. But it was also a by-product of overwork, of exhaustion that came from having more to do than I could imagine doing. In this instance, it wasn’t that my work was going poorly. Such a situation could certainly feel like “a dry and weary land where there is no water.” But, sometimes, when our work is going well, we are flourishing in one way while drying up in another way.
In the midst of a period of work-related dryness, I added Psalm 63:1-4 to my morning prayers. These verses have given expression to my deep need and longing for God. I know they’ll do the same for you today.
We have within us a deep need for God, a deep thirst that only the Lord’s living water can quench. Psalm 63 teaches us to cry out to God in our desire for him, opening our hearts for a fresh infusion of his thirst-quenching water.
Gracious God, I feel so dry these days. My soul is parched. I have so much to do that I find it hard to make time for you. I know I need you, but my dryness numbs me to that need.
So I let the words of the Psalm express the deeper longings of my heart.
“O God, you are my God.” Yes, you are King of kings and Lord of lords. But you are also my God, my Strength, my Savior, my Friend.
“I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you.” Sometimes I’m so dried out that I can’t even feel my thirst. Yet I know it’s there. And, every now then, by your grace, I can feel it again. I know how much I need you. You are the deepest desire of my heart.
“As in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” There isn’t much living water in the places where I work. There’s no obvious “spiritual water cooler.” What I must do each day is more draining than filling. But I know you are there, Lord. You are with me each moment throughout the day. You are there to sustain me, to nourish me, to encourage me.
O Lord, help me to lie down in your green pastures. Lead me beside your still waters. Restore my soul! Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
When your soul is parched, God loves to give you his living water.
For Further Reflection
You may wish to read and reflect on all of Psalm 63.
You may also read Psalm 23, which serves as a kind of dialogue partner with Psalm 63.
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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: What Is Better Than Life Itself?
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.