June 9, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture Reading – Psalm 96:4-5 (NRSV)
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
The greatness of God exceeds all other greatness. The heavens reveal the glory of the God who made them. Thus, God is greatly to be praised, not just in corporate worship, but in all of life. Our workplace can demand allegiance that feels almost like worship. But God alone is worthy of our full allegiance, our complete devotion.
Sometimes our work acts like a god, demanding ultimate allegiance. Sometimes we choose to make our work a sort of God, caring more about it than anything else in life. Either way, what we’re experiencing is a contemporary form of idolatry.
What will set us free from bondage such as this? Perhaps one of the most powerful defenses against idolatry is the unmatched greatness of God. God alone made the heavens. God alone is worthy of worship. God alone is exalted about all other “gods,” including the god of work. The more we reflect on the majesty and grandeur of God, the more we will be able to turn from the “idol” of work. Yes, we will still work hard, seeking excellence in what we do. But we will do this in obedience to God and in order to give glory to God.
Gracious God, Scripture proclaims your greatness, again and again. You are great beyond anything else in all creation. Indeed, the greatness of the heavens demonstrates your greatness because you made them.
I can say those words, “You are great,” and I can believe these words. But sometimes, Lord, they’re just words to me. I can forget your greatness. Or I can take it for granted.
This can happen especially as I work. Work can be so demanding, almost like a god. Or I can give so much of myself to my work that it’s a kind of worship. Forgive me, Lord, when I fall into workplace idolatry.
Your greatness, Lord, calls forth worship, and not just worship in church. Your greatness inspires me to worship you with all that I am and in all that I do. This means that my work can be an offering to you, a way for me to honor you and your greatness. May this be true for me today as I work. As I choose not to worship work, may I choose to worship you through my work. Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised . . . in your work today.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 96.
You may also wish to read Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3:12-17.
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: Advent Reflection: Why Do We Praise the Lord?
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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.