As we begin this journey, the first insight about becoming a lead servant is that our leadership is not, in the first place, about us or even about our role as leaders. Instead, it is about God’s larger purpose and work in the world, and about his formation of us for the sake of the world he loves. We are, after all and first of all, servants.
Christians often think of worship primarily in terms of the things we do in our weekly “worship service.” Worship means singing and praying and listening to sermons and celebrating the sacraments/ordinances and putting money in the offering plate. Now, these actions may well be expressions of worship, but they focus on the externals, not the heart of worship.
In Monday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we celebrated the fact that, in Christ, we have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing.” As you considered your many blessings, I’d be surprised if you included God’s discipline. According to Psalm 94:12, the one whom the Lord disciplines is “blessed.” We’re blessed when God disciplines us? That isn’t intuitive to me.
Those who walk in God’s ways live more meaningful and effective lives. But Psalm 92:13 adds another reason for the long-lived fruitfulness of the righteous: they “are planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God”. In other words, they have been planted so that their roots grow deeply into God’s soil. They draw nutrition from a divine source that is never exhausted.
Living in exile is an opportunity for the demonstration of faithfulness. In uncongenial, even hostile, circumstances, we are called to do our work faithfully. Much of what we do may seem insignificant. There may be less recognition that our work is of value, since what is valued has itself changed in the world around us. Still, we can—as an act of faith and faithfulness—sing the LORD’s song in a strange land.
When I was a boy, I loved playing hide-and-seek. Little made me happier than when I found the perfect hiding place, a secure enclave where no “seeker” would ever find me… In a way, Psalm 91 envisions such a hiding place. Our translation reads, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
When we stop to consider God’s love for us and how that love has been expressed in the wonderful things he has done for us, we will naturally offer thanks and praise to God. So, may I encourage you to make time for remembering and thanking. Think of God’s love for you and his goodness in your life… and give thanks!
Like the writer of Psalm 89, we often find ourselves thanking God for his goodness and wondering where his goodness went… Psalm 89 gives us freedom to tell the Lord exactly what we’re thinking and feeling. It reminds us that we don’t have to pretend as if everything in our lives is perfect. We can be fully honest with God.
What should we do with Psalm 88? We don’t know exactly what Heman the Ezrahite, who wrote this psalm, was facing, but we know it was overwhelming to him… Heman sees the hand of God in his suffering. “You have put me in the lowest pit,” he accuses the Lord (88:6). Yet Heman keeps on praying.
The church can and should be a place where the nations gather in worship, friendship, and mission. And when we scatter into the world, we have the opportunity to extend the welcome of God to others. For many of us, our workplaces are, in fact, our best opportunity to show the inclusive love of God to people from other countries and cultures.