The life of Joseph illustrates the power of God's intention for us to be a blessed so that we can bless others and positively change the world.
What is the meaning of my moments and movement beyond the movement of the moment?
In Genesis, the story of Joseph crescendos with this dance he choreographs to reconnect with the brothers who dealt so treacherously with him years before. Perhaps they have tried daily to forget, but they cannot. Nor can they know fully the pain and possibilities that were pregnant in their choices. When Joseph "sets them up," they are confronted with a question that is deeper than the moment:
" ... Joseph said to them, 'What deed is this that you have done?'"
(Genesis 44:15 ESV)
In fact, the deed they had most immediately done was none - none that would indict them. They are different men at that day than the men who sold their brother as a slave, but their transformation is not complete until the reconciliation is transacted and Joseph was confront them as much as they must be confronted ....
And they must confront the question that has ultimately brought them to this moment, "What have you done?"
It is, in the long run, a redemptive question and it is ours. It is mine? What is the meaning of my moments and movement beyond the movement of the moment?
What is the meaning of my life in an honest and full assessment of my life?
What would it mean apart from redemption? What does it mean in the light of redemption?
This is our moment for reflection.
Take a few steps back in the life of Joseph and witness his progress.
Joseph in the School of Life and Ministry
Genesis 35:16-18: Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.(NIV)
Background: Genesis 35-41
Benjamin was Joseph’s little brother, but in many ways, his name was a template for Joseph’s life. The sons of our sorrow become the sons of our strength through the transforming power of God in our lives.
In his father’s house, Joseph learned these lessons:
1. To shepherd sheep – Thus he learned the basic laws of leadership.
2. To dream great dreams … and yet, one more …
3. To be in the pits of rejection and despair … and still not to surrender ones dreams.
In Potipher’s House, he learned these lessons:
1. To manage a great business and the people in that business.
2. Agricultural principles which would later be employed to save an entire region from famine.
3. To resist temptation with integrity and yet, one more …
4. Not to be concerned that someone else received the credit and benefits of his work.
In jail, he used and developed all the lessons he had previously learned and more:
1. To manage people who did not want to be managed.
2. To make the best of a bad situation without growing bitter.
3. To help other people understand their dreams, and yet, one more …
4. To deliver bad news honestly and promptly.
All of these lessons brought him to Pharaoh’s house where God could use all these lessons and here he learned one more:
• How to speak truth to power with courage.
As a result, he was able to exercise the greatest leadership skill of his life: INFLUENCE!
And, by exercising influence, he was able to lead a nation and, indeed, many nations, through a time of famine.
Joseph was used by God to bless an entire nation during a time of profound crisis.
He was a dreamer of dreams.
A great vision for God's people in their communities comes from Genesis 41:41 and the life of Joseph. Joseph was used by God to bless an entire nation during a time of profound crisis.
" Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.”
He was a dreamer of dreams. He was favored by his father and wore a coat of many colors. He did not fit in with his brothers. He stood out as a bit odd. As a result, he was sold and imprisoned.
In spite of hardships, he always "bloomed where he was planted." His troubles always brought him to the right place at the right time. Thus, he was waiting, ready, and prepared when needed.
He had the attitude of a servant. In fact, he was a slave until the day he died and lived his life for others. He knew he had been brought to a time and place of great influence to bless others as an alien in a foreign land.
He had a ministry to meet the physical needs of the Egyptians that extended beyond their borders.
Eventually, his own people were blessed and grew into a great nation within Egypt until they were "called out."
In Joseph's life and service, God's purposes were worked out and realized.
All of these insights from Joseph's life reinforce our vision for a theology of place and influence.