November 9, 2014: Our view of the future is way too limited!

Posted on : Nov 6th, 2014 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

A few years ago I attended my nephew Josh’s high school graduation. Most graduations and graduation speakers are pretty boring. This one wasn’t. This high school was one of the high schools that was funded by Bill & Melinda Gates’ commitment to educational excellence. It was a Charter School where creativity and educational excellence were celebrated. Many of the kids in this high school were at high risk of dropping out of school for just about every reason imaginable. And yet, given the right educational environment and support, they soared.

In the commencement address to the students, the speaker said:

There are three kinds of people in life:

Those who make things happen.

Those who watch things happen.

And those who stand there and ask “What happened?”

This Sunday is our next-to-the-last Sunday with the story of Joseph and the Book of Genesis. The story this week is about Joseph’s unbelievable joy in discovering that his father is alive and well, that he has a younger brother whom he never met, and that he has the ability to forgive his 10 older brothers who hurt him and tried to destroy his life.

Joseph is one of those people who “makes things happen.”

For a good long period of time, just about everything that happened in Joseph’s life was horrible. Everything went wrong. And yet, in the midst of this chaos, he finds hope, healing and the ability to forgive and move on.

In one of the most touching stories in the bible, Joseph confronts his brothers, the brothers who sold him into slavery, and says to them: “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into slavery! Please don’t rebuke yourselves for having sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you so that I could save your lives.”

He then sends his brothers back to their home, telling them to bring his father, his family and all he owns – to live near him so that they and their children and all that they own will be spared from destitution caused by the famine.

This Sunday’s story helps us understand how Joseph learned to forgive and how that same spiritual dynamic can be applied to our lives today. Every time I read this story, I am reminded that our view of the future is way too limited. God has something much bigger and much better in mind for us, if we are only open to accepting it.



~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Genesis 45:1-20

Then Joseph was no longer able to hold back his feelings in front of his attendants, and he cried out to them, “Leave me!” So no one was present when Joseph made himself known to his brothers – but he wept so loudly that all of his Egyptian attendants heard him and the news of it reached the Pharaoh’s palace. Joseph said to his brothers, “It is I – Joseph! Is my father really still alive?” The brothers could not answer, so dumbfounded were they.

Then Joseph said to the brothers, “Come closer to me.” When they had come closer he said to them, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into slavery! Please don’t rebuke yourselves for having sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you so that I could save your lives. There has been famine in the land for two years, and for the next five years there will be no tilling and no harvesting. But God sent me ahead of you to guarantee that you will have descendants on earth and to keep you alive as a great body of survivors.”

“So it was not you who sent me here, but God! God has made me Pharaoh’s chief counselor, the head of this household and governor of all Egypt. Hurry back to our father and give him this message from Joseph: ‘God has made me governor of all of Egypt. Come to me here at once! Do not delay. You will live here near me in the territory of Goshen, you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all your possessions. I will provide for you here – for the next five years will be years of famine – so that you and your children and all that you own will be spared from destitution.’

You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother, Benjamin, that it is I who speak to you. Report to our father about how I am honored here in Egypt, and about everything you have seen. Go quickly, now, and bring my father to me!” Joseph threw his arms around Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him and wept too. Then he kissed his other brothers, weeping over them as well, and then he and his brothers talked.

When word reached Pharaoh that Joseph’s brothers had arrived, the Pharaoh and court officials were pleased. Pharaoh told Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Load your donkey and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me; I will give you land with the best soil in Egypt so that you can enjoy the fat of the land.’ You are also charged to say to them: ‘Do this: Take wagons from Egypt for your children and your spouses. Bring your father. Please come. Don’t worry about your belongings, for the best that is in Egypt will be yours.’”

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