March 9, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
I grew up with a dad who loved me dearly, but who, like so many men of his generation, had a hard time expressing that love in words. He usually showed his love in actions.
One of these actions was driving me to junior high Bible study. My group met at 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday mornings on the other side of town. Yet my dad not only gladly drove me to the study every week, but he was also willing to pick up a couple of my friends on the way. This meant we had to leave our house at about 6:00 a.m. It also meant that my dad was driving away from his work, not toward it.
I remember one particular morning sitting in the front seat next to my dad. The car was full, and I was in the middle of a bench seat. I could feel the warmth of my dad’s body next to me. I felt grateful for his faithful sacrifice each Tuesday morning. In that crowded Rambler American on the streets of Glendale, California, I knew that I belonged to him as his beloved son.
Psalm 100:3 reminds us that we belong to God: “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” We belong to God because he made us. He made each one of us individually. And he made us to be his people together. Thus, God continues to watch over us as our good shepherd.
What difference does it make that we belong to God? A huge difference, really. The fact that we belong to God can transform our lives. It can give us profound reassurance of our self-worth. We have eternal value because we belong to the Creator of the universe.
The fact that we belong to God also gives order to our lives. We are first and foremost God’s people. All of our other roles in life must be seen in the light of this primary reality. You may be a lawyer or a manager or a teacher, but you are first of all one of God’s people. You may be a father or a mother or a friend, but you are first of all one of God’s people. How you live in each of these other roles will be shaped by your primary relationship to God as someone who belongs to him.
Sometimes, when life is hard, or when we’ve turned away from God for an extended season, we can wonder if we still belong to him. The good news of the Gospel is that nothing can ultimately keep us away from God and his love. As Paul says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Did you catch that? What can separate you from God’s love? Nothing. NOTHING! Nothing can erase the fact that you belong to God through Jesus Christ. What great news this is!
Something to Think About:
When have you experienced the joy of belonging?
Do you feel as if you belong to God? Why or why not?
If you were confident that you belonged to God for eternity, how might this affect your life today?
Something to Do:
Set aside a few minutes sometime today for contemplation. In this time, reflect on the fact that you belong to God. Let this truth sink more deeply into your heart. Let it transform the way you think and feel about yourself, and about your life and work.
Gracious God, how good it is to remember that I belong to you. It’s so easy for me to think of myself primarily in terms of other kinds of belonging: I belong in my family; I belong to my work; I belong to my church. All of these are true, of course. Yet, today I’m reminded that the primary, defining, transformational belonging of my life is simply this: I belong to you!
Thank you, dear Lord, for this truth. Thank you for claiming me in your grace. Thank you for reaching out to me in Jesus Christ. Thank you for the fact that nothing in all creation can separate me from your love.
May I live today as if I belong to you. May I live in the freedom of your grace, seeking to give delight to you in all that I do. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Six Days Shall You Worship
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.
Hi Dr. Roberts!
How does one go about finding a balance between Paul’s words in Romans 8:38-39, and Hebrews 10:26? I don’t understand how Paul can say “Nothing can separate us from God”, then the Hebrews writer can say “Except a return to sin”.
Scott, this is a fine question. I can’t really give an adequate answer here. But I will say that what Hebrews envisions is much more than a return to sin. Vs. 29 speaks of “trampling the Son of God underfoot.’ The writer is talking about a complete rejection of the Gospel and the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice. The context in Hebrews seems to be people who have renounced God and the Christian Gospel. So much more could be said. This is a start.
Thank you for your insight, keep up the great work!
You’re welcome. Thanks for our conversation.
This brought to mind the Casting Crowns song, “Who Am I.” Even in our frailty, our temporal existence in this physical world, God loves us, and we can call on Him. Very beautiful.
Amen to that. Thanks for your comment.
Great devo Mark! (per the usual). Sharing this with my students today – they will be grateful for these words and the promise from God that they contain.
Thanks, Emily. I appreciate your encouragement!
I love your writing, Mark, and read your words faithfully❣️ Thank you vso much for your deep thoughts and opinions, which I trust so much❣️
On another note, I don’t know if you’ve heard that Letty Johnson passed on Valentine’s Day, one day short iof the anniversary of Sam’s passing ten years ago. This Sunday, March 11th, will mark six years since Chris went Home. I still miss him so very much.
I hope you and your family are well. It’s so nice keeping up via social media and your devotions❣️
Karen, oh my, I had not heard about Letty. That’s sad for us. Heaven’s gain. Yes, I’m sure you miss Chris. You will never stop missing one who was so loving and wise, and such a great husband. Thanks for you comments about the devotions.