faithful

Be Faithful

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faithful: trustworthy, reliable, consistent, not changing in behavior or attitude, believing

Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they considered killing him.  What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood?  (Genesis 37:26).  They decided instead to sell him to the Ishmeelites and the Ishmeelites then sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.

Despite what happened to Joseph, he served well in Potiphar’s house.  Potiphar saw that the Lord was with him and he later made Joseph overseer of his house.  Things were going well until Potiphar’s wife accused him of attempted rape.  Potiphar then put Joseph in prison.

While in prison, the keeper of the prison placed all the prisoners under Joseph’s supervision.  When Pharaoh threw his butler and baker in prison, the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph and he served  them also (Genesis 40:4).  One morning, Joseph noticed that the butler and baker were sad (Genesis 40:6).  They both had a dream, but they didn’t understand it.  Joseph didn’t withhold his gift.  He interpreted their dreams.  The baker was going to be hung on a tree, but the butler would be restored to his position in three days.  Joseph told the butler that once his dream came to pass, not to forget about him.

But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon  (Genesis 40:14-15).  But the butler forgot about him (Genesis 40:23).

Even though Joseph was ready for that season of his life to be over, it wasn’t time yet.  He had to stay in prison just a little while longer. He had to be patient and patience isn’t always about waiting.  Patience is more about what you are doing while you are waiting.  Some of us are just like Joseph.  We wish God would hurry up.  We think we are ready to receive what God has promised, but God is watching your faithfulness.  God is watching what you do with the little.  Maybe the reason why you’re still where you are now  is because you aren’t ready for what’s next.

Things didn’t always go the way Joseph liked, but he remained faithful in every  season – in his father’s house, in the pit, in Potiphar’s house, and in jail.  Joseph had every reason to be angry, bitter and disappointed, but his attitude remained the same.  What Joseph went through should have hardened his heart, but he wasn’t like Naomi.  He didn’t allow circumstances and hard times to change him or his name.  He didn’t allow what was sweet to turn bitter.  He didn’t send anyone away or isolate himself from others. He worked – consistently – as unto the Lord, not unto man.  He kept giving.  He kept sowing seed, not knowing which seed was going to produce.

And one day, the gift that he gave sometime ago opened doors and brought him before a great man.  He was then made ruler over Pharaoh’s house, his substance and all the land of Egypt.  He would also discipline Pharaoh’s princes if needed and teach the elders wisdom (Psalm 105:22).

Everything he went through brought him to this season.  During the waiting period, Joseph proved to be reliable and trustworthy.  He served when it was comfortable (home).  He served when it was uncomfortable (jail).  Before he became ruler over others, he learned how to submit to those who had rule over him.

Beautiful story, right?  But the story doesn’t end there.  Remember, his dream hadn’t come to pass yet (Genesis 37:6-10). 

A famine came and it was all over the face of the earth.  This is why Joseph was sent (Psalm 105:17).  All countries had to go to Egypt to buy corn.  Jacob sent his sons (Joseph’s brothers) to buy corn because of the famine.  When his brothers came before him, they bowed before him.  Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them  (Genesis 42:9).

When Joseph’s brothers saw him, they didn’t even recognize him (Genesis 42:8).  I don’t believe it was because his looks changed.  I think it was because he changed.  Joseph had a lot of growing up to do (and so do I).  I can only imagine how Joseph felt walking around with a coat that no one else had, but he was stripped of pride and anything that shouldn’t have been in his heart or mind.  God wants to transform us in such a way that people can no longer see us, but they see Him.  Pharaoh didn’t even serve Joseph’s God, but he recognized Him.  Do you remember when Pharaoh needed someone to interpret his dreams?  He called his magicians and wise men, but they couldn’t help him.  He saw the distinction between them and Joseph.  Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him?  (Genesis 41:38).

We think that the dream is beautiful, but there is beauty in what God is doing in us right now.  When God completed His work, Joseph wasn’t full of pride, hate, anger or bitterness.  In fact, when his brothers gave him money for corn, not only did he return it, but he gave them more than what they had.  When Joseph’s brothers threw him in an empty pit, they sat down and ate a meal.  Joseph didn’t even have water in the pit, but he didn’t treat them the way they treated him. He opened his home to them.  He gave them water to drink.  He gave them bread to eat.  He washed their feet.  He even fed their donkeys.

And he did all of this without an apology.  It’s easy to help someone who has helped you, but can you help someone who has hurt you?  Joseph couldn’t do it on his own, but he trusted God to do it through him.  I’m amazed at Joseph’s forgiveness towards his brothers, but I’m even more amazed at his faithfulness towards God.

You may be on a job that you don’t like, but be faithful.  If God gave you a spouse, be faithful.  Maybe God told you that he was going to send help to the ministry, but it seems like more people are leaving than coming.  Be faithful.

When I was younger, I sang on the youth choir every third Sunday.  On the days I sang, I attended church twice – 7:00 and 11:00 a.m.  I remember one morning after church, the late Reverend Johnson shook my hand and called me ‘faithful’.  I didn’t understand it at the time, but the reason why he said this was because it didn’t matter who sang or who didn’t sing.  I showed up.  He knew that most young people like to stay in bed late on Sunday mornings, but I got up early even when I didn’t feel like it.

In the last ten years, I’ve quit things when it didn’t seem like it was working or it didn’t seem like it would get better or it just didn’t feel good.  I just didn’t give it time and you must give things time to grow, but I wanted God to do it now.  I realize now that I was only thinking about myself.  I wasn’t thinking about my family or the people that would need what I have.  I knew what I wanted, but I never thought about what God wanted.

Many are called, but few are chosen  (Matthew 22:14).  You are the Joseph of your family.  You were chosen.  Let God discipline, chastise and correct you now in private before He reveals you in public.  Let Him change you.  Let Him make you.  Let Him do to you what the potter does to the clay.

I’ve been called faithful before and I want to be called faithful again.

Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:21, 23)

 

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I Must Be

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I: self, the one speaking or writing

must: something that has to be done; something that is necessary or very important; required, compelled

be: exist; occupy a position; arise

Jesus and his parents celebrated the Passover every year in Jerusalem.  One year as his parents were leaving to return to Nazareth, they thought Jesus was with them, but he stayed behind.  After three days, they finally found him sitting in the temple among teachers, listening and asking questions.   When his mother told him that they were searching for him, Jesus asked, Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business? 

At the age of 12, Jesus understood ‘the business’ and when he began his ministry, he chose twelve businessmen (physician, tax collector, fishermen).  So it’s not surprising that when Jesus was talking to his disciples about true discipleship, he used words that they would understand – profit and loss.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  

In terms of business, profit means a financial gain.  It is the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent.  It is what you have left after  all the expenses are paid. In other words, there should be a return on your investment.  This is the reason why the man who traveled to a far country got angry with one of his servants.  He was going away and left his servants in charge of what he owned.  He trusted them with his business.  He assigned to one servant five talents, another two talents and another one talent.  He knew them that labored among him and he gave them according to their ability.  He knew what they were capable of.  He knew what they could do with what he had given them.  Two of the servants obeyed and worked while their master was away, but the third servant hid his lord’s money in the ground.  His lord was gone for a long time (Matthew 25:19), which means he was given enough time to use what he was given, but he didn’t use his time wisely.

When the man returned, each servant had to give an account of what they did with what they were given.  The servants that were given five and two talents made a profit.  They took what they had and gained more than what they started out with.  This brought their lord joy.  He then promoted them and gave them more  responsibilities because they proved that they could be trusted with a  few  things.  The servant who had less than the other two (one talent) only gave his master excuses (vs 24-25) and as he was speaking, he revealed what he really thought about his lord.  First of all, I don’t think he really liked him because he was a ‘hard man’.  (Sometimes you need someone who’s going to be hard on you).  Also, he didn’t serve out of love. You obey those who you love and there has to be a level of trust because you will never submit to what you don’t trust.  I don’t know how many years he had been serving, but in the end he proved himself to be unprofitable, wicked and lazy.  He was entrusted with something that was valuable, but because he didn’t treat it as such, that which was given to him was now given to someone else.  What a loss.

When you look at the life of Jesus, He did more in three years than some of us have done in the 20, 30 or 40-something years God has given us.  The reason is because he didn’t refuse to learn, he didn’t refuse to grow and he was obedient (Luke 2:46, 51-52) – and many have benefited and profited because of what He did.

There is nothing wrong with wanting nice things, there is nothing wrong with wanting better and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be successful, but the problem is we’re trying to have success without God and that’s not success.  That’s failure.  The Lord knows what things you have need of before you ask Him.  If you would use what God has given you, you will not want for anything.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you  (Matthew 6:33).

Think about all the things you are trying to obtain.  Count the cost.  Count the time you’ve wasted.  What will you lose trying to gain these things?  After spending precious time getting everything you want, what will you have left?  What will remain?  What benefit would it be to anyone for you to get everything you want only to lose you?  The Lord has need of you and you are more valuable than the things you are seeking after.

I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ  (Philippians 3:8, AMP).

We must be  about our Father’s business and not just talk about it.  We are here on the earth to be the light.  The devil wants you to be a light put under a bushel, but God doesn’t want you to hide or bury what He has given you.  We are to let our light shine before men that they may see good works and in turn glorify God.  The people have already heard. Now it’s time for them to see the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers cleansed (incurable diseases), the deaf hear, and the dead raised.

Let us be people who value his/her blessings and gifts from God and use them wisely.  When we do these things, we will be given more, but the person who does nothing with what God has given him, even the little that he does have will be taken away from him.

May we all be good and faithful servants.