I started reading through the bible this year, trying to slowly soak it all in. The aim is not just to finish but gain greater understanding of the scripture, draw closer to God and experience the thrill of the word speaking to me and enlightening me. As I came to the last few chapters in Genesis, it felt as if I just completed watching a great movie. The Account of Jacob (Israel) and his family is amazing. The story of Joseph and his brothers even more amazing.
As I started book number two (2), Exodus, I felt sad. Jacob (Israel) has died, Joseph has died and all his brothers. Mind you, this happened many years ago but their stories became so alive in my heart that I felt as if I lost something. I am thinking to myself, their passing is such a loss to humanity, people like them should live forever.
Exodus chapter one has already secured my attention. As mentioned before, they all died, Jacob, Joseph and all his brothers. Now the verse that really caused me to halt was Exodus 1 verse 8. “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph”. What? Seriously? Half of your life is missing. The said chapter also tells us that he was a mean Pharaoh. He saw the Israelites as threats and afflicted them. He also sought to kill all the males among them. Things were no longer the same.
How does this apply to us today? I see it as very relevant. Joseph rose up and did what God commanded him to do. He truly lived for others growing to be an outstanding leader in his day and leaving a great legacy, one that we still read about today. However, Joseph died and despite all the good he did to give the Israelites a better quality life during the famine and to protect them, he could not protect them forever. The wicked Pharaoh took over and all hell broke loose for the Israelites. He didn’t even know about this great man Joseph.
Despite the fact that we would die and some people may not remember our legacy, don’t let that reality shock you into frozen mode. Joseph’s story of yesterday is serving to motivate, teach and inspire others today. Do not focus on those who belittle you or doubt your potential. Do not focus on what your family did to you, do not focus on the man or woman who had an opportunity to help you and bluntly refused. Focus on your mission, you task, your purpose and get it done. There will be those who would benefit as a result of your giving to others, and your willingness to share your gifts and abilities with the world.
Your greatness can be realized but like Joseph you must be willing to run from those traps that can corrupt your character, like Joseph, you must be bold and ready to face powerful men and ask for what you need, like Joseph you must be ready to forgive despite your pain. Joseph would always be remembered for excellence in leadership, his willingness to say no to the attractive and the powerful, his deep love for his brothers and his care for the welfare of his people.
What would you and I be remembered for? I remind you to pursue a meaningful life where “people” are your focus.