In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I began to consider how our “frame” for the biblical story influences our reading of Scripture. For example, if our frame begins with Genesis 3, the entrance of sin and death into the world, then we’ll read the rest of the Bible as being mainly a story of how God overcomes the problem of sin. But if our frame is wider, then we’ll see more in Scripture than we had seen before. Sin, death, and life after death will continue to matter greatly, but we’ll understand the meaning and purpose of our lives more broadly.
Several times in our life, my wife and I purchased a picture for our home. We liked the photograph or painting and felt fairly sure it would add beauty to our life. Before hanging it on the wall, however, Linda would head off to the frame store. A couple of weeks later, she’d return with the framed picture. I would be amazed by how much the frame influenced how I saw the picture. It not only added to the overall beauty of the picture, but also helped to highlight key colors or themes. It helped my eyes see what they ought to see. Indeed, the right frame can make all the difference.
As I was thinking about Memorial Day, it occurred to me that this holiday actually relates to the issue of work. Thus, I thought I’d offer some brief “Labor Day” reflections for Memorial Day.
Today we finish our devotional study of Genesis. Ironically, this is also the final day of the first year of the Life for Leaders devotions. The De Pree Center began publishing Life for Leaders on April 1, 2015. After a few devotions related to Easter, we dove into Genesis on April 6 with “First Impressions.” Since then, we’ve seen over and over again how God’s speaks to us through Genesis, not just about our personal lives, but also about our work, our leadership, and our participation in the world.
Every time I come upon Genesis 50:20, I am amazed. It captures in a nutshell the superior sovereignty and generous grace of God. It offers encouragement for us in our work and in every part of life. And it calls us to worship the God whose intentions are truly marvelous.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we began to consider a passage from Genesis 49 in which Jacob testified to the power of his verbal blessings to affect the life of his son Joseph. “The blessings of your father,” Jacob said, “are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains” (49:26). From this starting point, we reflected on the power of our words to bless others or to hurt them. This power is expressed, not just within family systems, but also in the workplace. With words, we can build each other up or tear each other down.
Words have power. With your words you can wound and weaken the people who matter most in your life, such as your colleagues and subordinates, your family members and friends, your neighbors near and far. Or you can use your words to bless those who are close to you, to build them up, encourage, and energize them.
We were created for work. And work, as God intended it, was to be good. As creatures made in God’s image, we were to do the good work of being fruitful, multiplying, filling the earth, governing it, tilling it, and keeping it.
But then something happened to corrupt the goodness of work. Sin happened.
[Jacob] blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys; and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac; and let them … Read More
Jacob’s experience of God was not simply a hand-me-down. The second way he identified God was as “the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day.” Notice that God was not just a shepherd or the shepherd of all of his people, but rather “my shepherd.”