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.
If we think beyond the Easter celebrations to the reality being celebrated, Easter may turn out to be more relevant to work than we first think.
Today is Holy Saturday – the day between Good Friday and Easter. In my experience, today feels a bit like an intermission in a play. Lots of drama happened before; lots of drama is yet to come.
There is another dimension of the cross that we sometimes overlook on Good Friday. We see this dimension clearly in Ephesians 2:14-16, where the death of Christ on the cross brings reconciliation, not only between people and God, but also between alienated people groups.
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.
We know very little about the centurion who appears in Mark 15. He is first mentioned in verse 39, “Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’” A few verses later, when Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the dead body of Jesus, Pilate summoned the centurion to find out for sure whether Jesus had died (15:44). When the centurion confirmed Jesus’ demise, Pilate let Joseph have the body (15:45). That’s all the gospels tell us about this particular centurion.
Several years ago, while visiting a church on Sunday morning, I saw a striking communion banner. It featured a creative and tasteful weaving together of wheat stalks and bunches of grapes. I appreciated the artistry that went into the design and production of the banner and was glad to have seen it.