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Cain’s response to God’s question regarding Abel’s whereabouts was troubling for so many reasons. Obviously the murder of one brother by another was a violation of God’s order (as he would later outline through the law). Yet there was another subtle and destructive concept that was played out here… selfishness. After committing a transgression against his brother, Cain essentially declares, “What do I have to do with my brother’s well-being?” or put in another way “Not my problem”. What a bold assertion from a person who had taken the life of another person, even his own brother.
Seeds need three conditions to grow: light, nutrients and water. In Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, there are plenty of seeds and more than enough sunlight. In today’s text, the question is whether there is sufficient soil and adequate moisture for the seed to flourish. And, soil and moisture seem to be interrelated.
In the last couple of days, we’ve been focusing on how we can love God with all of our strength in and through our daily work. Today, we continue to reflect on the notion of strength, but from a different and, I would suggest, absolutely essential perspective.
Yesterday, we began to consider how we can love God with all of our strength in our daily work. We were reminded that God created our bodies – gave us strength – so that we might work. When we offer our bodies to God through our work, he is worshiped and loved.
In my last few Life for Leaders devotions, I’ve been working with you on how we can love God at work with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Today, we get to the last of the four aspects of love for God. According to Jesus, who quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5, we are to love God with all of our “strength.” We are to do this in every part of life, including our daily work.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we began considering the call of Jesus to love God “with all our mind.” We love God, not only through our choices, actions, and feelings, but also through our thoughts. We do this, in part, by thinking about God, considering his excellence, meditating upon his beauty, considering his justice, and concentrating on his truth. In light of this truth, we learn to think in ways that honor God wherever we are, including our workplace.
It’s not hard for us to relate to loving God with all our heart, even in the biblical sense of thoughtful choices as we exercise our will to do what honors the Lord. And it’s not hard for us to conceive of loving God with all our soul, with all of our inner being, including our emotions. But loving God with all our mind may, at first, seem odd. We wonder what it means to love God with our mind.
You and I might quickly look at two boys arguing over who gets to keep a birthday balloon or two distraught women seeking justice when only one baby is left between them, and try to figure out which one is “right.” A longing to be right is often at the heart of so many of our divisions.
In Psalm 58:6, the psalmist prays in reference to unjust leaders, “Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; LORD, tear out the fangs of those lions!” Should we pray like this when we face perpetrators of injustice? Should we ask God to break the teeth of unjust leaders?
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