In the beginning, God creates the heavens and the earth. He organizes this earth, and ensures that everything is working and functioning properly. This great big God then makes humankind in his image and likeness and calls this first man Adam… For our purposes today, it is worth focusing on Adam’s role as the first human being to receive a vision or plan from God.
Ash Wednesday has everything to do with work. We see this in the biblical passage that provides the basis for the Ash Wednesday worship… Until we die, we will do battle with “thorns and thistles” in our work (3:18). We will be productive, but only “by the sweat of [our] brow” (3:19). Thus, our mortality, which is signified through the ashes of Ash Wednesday, is first experienced in our work, which, because of sin, can be painful and unhappily toilsome.
In my last devotion, I underscored the need for clarity at the beginning of our pursuit of God’s vision for our lives. When you turn on the lights at the infancy stage of your project, you can clearly see what you have. Resources are made visible, and inadequacies are often highlighted. So what do we do once the lights are on?
When we look closely at the account of creation in Genesis, we see that the earth God created was formless and dark… Before God separated the waters, surfaced the land, made the plants and animals, and even created people, he said four important words: “Let there be light.” In essence, he was bringing forth clarity. How do you bring light into your genesis phase?
If I may be honest, as a leader, I struggle with leading by faith. I don’t always mind the faith trials that are just between God and me. At least in these scenarios, my losses are directly tied to personal calculations that I was willing to absorb—I knew what I was getting into. Leading by faith can feel overwhelming because the decisions we make in faith have very real impacts on the people who follow us.
Recently, my Life for Leaders devotions have been focusing on Jacob’s prayer in Genesis 32, what I’ve been calling “The Prayer of a Humble Leader.” So far, we’ve seen Jacob’s admission of his unworthiness to receive God’s love and faithfulness, that which has allowed him to flourish in his life and leadership. Yesterday, we reflected on Jacob’s honest confession of fear and how this encourages us to be more honest with God. Today, I want to focus on two other aspects of Jacob’s humble prayer.
In the previous devotion, I focused on the first part of Jacob’s prayer in Genesis 32:10-12. There, he acknowledged before God that he was not worthy of the love and faithfulness that God had shown him (v. 10). The foundation of humility for a leader is an awareness that what we have has been given to us because of God’s grace.
In Genesis, Jacob, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham, became a wealthy man with a large family. He accomplished what men in his day yearned for: progeny, possessions, and honor.
For the last few days, I’ve used a passage from Genesis 28 to reflect on God’s presence in our workplace. Even as Jacob was impressed by God’s presence in a place he did not expect to find it, so it can be with us in our offices, shops, classrooms, and boardrooms.
Today, I want to continue reflecting with you on Genesis 28:16, “Surely the LORD is in this place – and I did not know it!” In the previous edition of Life for Leaders, I suggested that the language of God “showing up” in special ways runs the risk of implying that God is not present in ordinary times and places. We who think this way may need to recognize, along with Jacob, “Surely the LORD is in this place — and I did not know it!”