Today's Lectionary Text
The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Removing his signet ring from his hand, Pharaoh put it on Joseph’s hand; he arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in the chariot of his second-in-command; and they cried out in front of him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Thus Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt.
Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven plenteous years the earth produced abundantly. He gathered up all the food of the seven years when there was plenty in the land of Egypt, and stored up food in the cities; he stored up in every city the food from the fields around it. So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance—like the sand of the sea—that he stopped measuring it; it was beyond measure.
I have decided to write about a series of dreams and outcomes that certainly appear to be part of a plan. I share a lesson about our ability to have dreams, experience them and move with the Holy Spirit to have an impact on the world. I want to remind you to look for collaborators in, and outside, of our normal team members. When we view the world with the possibilities of dreams being converted into reality, we allow for the Holy Spirit and ourselves to work in the world.
Genesis 41 (verses 37-49) denotes a plan for an anticipated outcome which originated from a dream. Pharaoh needed someone to interpret his dream, but his officials and normal team members were not capable of providing the interpretation. The dream interpretation required an unlikely collaborator. Once that someone was identified, a partnership was formed. As a result of the partnership, a mission to collect food in advance before a famine was formed and the interpreted dream outcome occurred.
Pharaoh had vivid dreams and needed an interpreter. He was trying to align everything to his dreams. The man with the ability to spiritually interpret dreams was the imprisoned Joseph. God had made himself known in a unique way to Joseph and Pharaoh is curious. Joseph’s words are powerful to Pharaoh, and it impacts him. It is the spiritual discipline of hearing from the Lord and listening to his commands that got Joseph’s attention, but the power of God’s word goes unnoticed by Pharaoh. Pharaoh gave Joseph the earthly kingdom power, but the Lord granted Joseph to be a heavenly kingdom worker.
It seems that it was the Holy Spirit that guided Joseph. Pharaoh “dressed him up” and gave Joseph the best he could for the mission and execution of the plan. Typically, when I think of going on a mission, I think of “dressing down” to get dirty and ready for what might come. Pharaoh did not ask Joseph to dress down for the job. Pharaoh continued to be the known person in control, but the shift was that people started listening to Joseph because of his leadership in the land of Egypt. Joseph was in charge. Joseph was sent and therefore he went to lead the people amongst them. While Joseph was young, Joseph had vision and provided stability for future leadership. He grew during his aging process. Eventually, a series of collections and storing of the grain became bigger than himself and impacted generations to come. The abundance blessed people beyond measure and the Lord worked through the people in the present. The impact even carried forward into the future where uncertainty lurked. Through listening to God, and then following the Spirit, came great (and even greater) responsibilities for Joseph. Perhaps by listening to God and following the Spirit our impact and responsibilities are to be larger than our dreams, or our imagination could ever be.
Editor’s note: This will be featured in a soon-to-be-released book by Mark Queen, lay leader at Manhattan First UMC, called “Shoulder to Shoulder, Daily Devotions for Leaders and Their Teams”
Coordinator of Lay Leadership
Prayer for Reflection
Father God, we praise you for the Holy Spirit who grants us wisdom, fills us with life, guards our hearts, and illuminates our mind to comprehend the good news of Jesus Christ. Let us settle for nothing less than the truth that you have revealed to us in your Holy Word. Amen!
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