Now the story becomes personal. One of the most difficult things I have had to do as I moved into the wonders of adulthood is the job interview! I believe I speak for many, on this subject at least. We are supposed to enter into conversation with a perfect stranger answering the questions put us in one of two ways: 1. Lie to guarantee you are the chosen one (as I’m sure you know this carries the worst odds for success). 2. Answer honestly to the best of your ability knowing God is going place you right where he wants you to serve Him and others.
Several years ago another theory developed involving career and employment. As my eldest daughter was growing up, I gave her what I thought was good sound advice, my personal best, to pursue an education and career which would guarantee the greatest amount of income! As her father it was my job to be sure she could earn all the money that was going to make her happy!
You caught that, didn’t you? One of the largest and most damaging lies perpetrated on the human race is, “Money can make you happy.” Money can buy a lot of stuff: clothes, cars, houses, vacations, friends (well hardly, they only seem like friends … until the money is gone), entertainment, etc. But it will never purchase happy. Money may buy a little delirium, possibly some hilarity, that nano-second in time when everything weighing on you is forgotten! Then the weight returns heavier than before, and with it the addiction to the lie, money is the answer, controls our lives.
This is what God has begun teaching me: He and He alone provides our income. It doesn’t matter where you work, who is your employer, what you do, when you do it, or for how long you do it. God places His disciples where He wants them, to serve His plans and serve those He leads to us, and to become fishers of men. I know for some this concept is way out there, somewhere beyond Pluto which, as you know, is no longer considered a planet. Yet it makes absolute perfect sense. God has declared, over and over, everything on this planet He created is His. Therefore, He does with it, with us, and with our circumstances, as He chooses. He can use anything or nothing to provide us a payroll.
This concept is one I still wrestle with God over as He continues to teach me trust. Most of my personal life has been a struggle to see that there was something, anything, talented about me. There were times when I just wanted God to slip me a little note, “Ron, this is why I created you. Go to college, choose this major and you will be gifted to earn what will be needed for your family.” But as you know, it didn’t happen. Or did it?
As we have been experiencing Joseph’s life, watching while God prepared him for the most amazing ministry any one could have, there was time for preparation, learning, and maturing. There was the need for integrity to be so identified in Joseph that you could almost feel it physically. Joseph had to be prepared, made ready for history, before he could be the man God used to save thousands. Before he could see behind Door Number 3, Joseph had to be ready.
What I am about to write doesn’t come easy, because it’s personal. Seeing myself as having value is a fairly new experience for me, something growing over the last 15 or so years (give or take a few weeks). So, to look at Joseph in search of comparisons to my own life is challenging, to say the least. It does not come naturally. If God was preparing Joseph for ministry, and ministry is the ultimate goal for God as long as we are here (see Matthew 25 re: Sheep and Goats), then God must be accomplishing in each and every one who will let Him an “Intensive In-service” dependent on God. And if this is true, then it reveals blessings in my life I have never seen as blessings. Circumstances that appeared as disasters could be the overwhelming providence created by God to prepare me for the plan that is God’s!
As this thought process infiltrates every fibre of my being, I realize my history has a different impact on my present and future. This helps me understand Romans 8:28, because in reality I only think I know what is going on, what is happening, what is going to happen, how it will happen! Through this turmoil, I am forcing my heart, mind, soul, and body to be beaten, thrashed, and stripped to exhaustion, while God constantly seeks to reassure, comfort, remind, and encourage me He’s had plans for me since before Creation.
“… Who could do it better than Joseph? For he is a man who is obviously filled with the spirit of God” Genesis 41:38 New Living Translation
I would have enjoyed seeing Joseph’s face as Pharaoh made his pronouncement, a decision for employment based on Joseph’s relationship with God, not on Joseph’s resumé or reputation. Pharaoh recognized in Joseph an honest man, one obviously blessed by his God. There it was, the perfect recommendation! A man recognized as one who was deeply connected with God. And Joseph wasn’t even looking for a job! Officially, he was still a prisoner, but that was all about to change. Never again would life be the same for Joseph.
You and I are in a similar process. God prepares us to minister to those who need. The sooner we can accept God’s promises, His plans for us, our stress level eases way off. Once I get that taste of God’s Grace, little by little He replaces my fear with His hope, a confident hope! We must begin now to move forward in Him with the certainty of knowing God and in complete confidence He knows us.
It is not easy. There is an enemy who seeks all he can destroy, but take heart, He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. And once more it come down to choices. Now is when it becomes very personal, “What or Whom will I choose?”
“So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15 New Living Translation
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