Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, ‘Can we find such a one as, this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?’”
Genesis 41: 14, 38
King James Version
“What Goes Around Comes Around”
“It is better to be faithful than famous.”
Is there something in my life that I want to happen but it seems all I am doing is waiting?
“Do little things as if they were great, because of the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, who dwells in thee.”
“Don’t be misled: no one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest.”
Galatians 6: 7
Last springtime in the mountain town where I live the bulbs in my yard and all over town were blooming. What surprised me is the daffodils, in all their yellow beauty, were blooming where I thought iris bulbs had been planted. Evidently, the bulbs, although different in size, got mixed together in a bag. The flowers that bloomed may not have been what I thought was in the ground – however, it didn’t matter what I thought, for what was “sowed” was what was “reaped.” Daffodil bulbs produced yellow daffodils. And the iris bulbs produced big purple iris flowers.
The apostle Paul, in a letter to the Galatians said, “Don’t think God is a fool. He sees everything that we do. He knows exactly what’s up. You cannot make fun of God just because things don’t happen the way you think they should. God sees what is sowed. And you will reap the harvest you plant.” This is my paraphrase of Galatians 6:7.
Many times, when I’ve heard this text used in sermons or Bible studies, the context of the verse is projected as a threat. If you do evil you will reap evil. Have you ever heard this text used in this way? I’m certain you have because somewhere in our hearts we long for those who do good to be overwhelmingly blessed and for those who do evil to reap the “consequences” of their bad behavior.
But when Jesus was on earth, in talking about how we should treat one another, especially those we label as “enemies,” in Matthew 5: 44, 45, K.J.V., this is what He told us to do:
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Seems that in God’s world here on planet earth, what goes around, doesn’t always come around the way we think it should.
Certainly in Joseph’s life, for many years, doing the right thing didn’t seem to do anything to push him up in the world. Slavery and prison only seemed to underscore the fact that his life of integrity – his life of serving God – didn’t “fix” everything.
In fact, after the head of the prison put Joseph in charge and after Joseph correctly predicted the fate of Pharaoh’s butler and baker from their dreams – the Bible tells us that he still was left to languish in prison for another 2 years.
All this time, the brothers who sold him into slavery were living their lives. Mr. and Mrs. Potiphar were living their lives. But down in a dungeon, Joseph was forgotten.
Oh, but he wasn’t forgotten, at least not by his God. Furthermore, and this is the pivotal point of our lesson today, Joseph didn’t forget his God either. Joseph could have, down in the prison, sat on his hands pouting, miserable and bitter.
Instead, Genesis 39: 23 tells us “The keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison: and whatsoever they did there, (Joseph) was the doer of it.”
Whatever was put before Joseph, he did with the dedication of a child of God. He never expected some immediate blight or blessing from his behavior. He didn’t demand to be treated special. Nor did he sit around waiting for someone else to serve him. What’s more, whether he was the privileged son of Jacob or the chief in Potiphar’s house or a Hebrew slave in prison – Joseph’s faithfulness to God never, ever changed.
Whether on the mountain or in the valley – he purposed to be faithful to his God.
You see, Joseph understood that sowing and reaping don’t just apply to evil – for our merciful God sends the sun to bless both good and evil. What Joseph really understood, and what you and I need to understand as well, is that sowing good always reaps good. Even when you’re “sowing good” in a prison in Egypt. I love the words of Mother Teresa, “I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.”
You may have a situation in your life right at this very moment where the “faithfulness of Joseph” is what God needs from you. In the words of Francois Fénelon: “Faithfulness in carrying out present duties is the best preparation for the future.” This was true in the life of Joseph. May it be true in our lives today.
“Teach us, good Lord to serve Thee as Thou deservest:
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest;
To labor and not ask for any reward
Save that of knowing that we do Thy will.”
Prayer for Generosity
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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