In the passage above, Joseph has been imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit after being sold into slavery by his own brothers. He has every right to be a bitter man, but instead he has chosen to rely on the Lord for his strength. By relying on the Lord, he has left himself open and ready to truly see and notice those around him. Rather than focusing on himself, perhaps even throwing a continual pity party for himself, he instead is finding his hope in the Lord and passing that hope on to others as he builds relationship with them.
As I studied Genesis 39-40 this past week, I was struck by Joseph and these two verses in particular. Joseph shows sincerity and thoughtfulness in these verses, and it left me wondering if I would've done the same. Would I have taken the time to notice the sad faces of those two men, or would I have been too caught up in the other things around me that I'd deemed important to even really see them? Would I have been paying more attention to my check list than to the people around me?
Thinking through these questions helped me to see something in my own life that I need to work on, but they also helped me to see how well people have been caring for us recently. We brought our daughter home from Ethiopia almost 4 weeks ago, and the days have been challenging. Yet, in the midst of the challenges, we have had so many who have seen our needs (or possible needs) and have offered to help. They, like Joseph, have been ready to ask us how things were going and not shy away from being there for someone in need (even if they, too, are busy--which of course they are--we all are).
In the past few weeks, we have had over 20 people sign up to bring us meals. I have received texts, messages, and emails asking how we were doing. We have had people volunteer to run to the store for us. Earlier this week as I had a particularly hard day with our daughter, a friend brought me a drink from Starbucks to brighten my day. I could go on. People have seen us, and they have responded to the season we are in with mercy and grace. It has been such a beautiful representation of the Body of Believers serving well, and I feel privileged to see it firsthand.
But I don't want to stop there. I don't want to simply receive and move forward. I want to be like Joseph, too. I want to see someone and being willing to take the time to stop and ask them why they are sad (or angry or upset or whatever). I want to be Jesus to those I encounter. And I'm wondering, do you want to try it, too? Who's with me? Who wants to stop looking past people and start looking at them....not to judge but to help? To make a difference, even if it's simply giving a smile to someone who hasn't smiled in days.
Let's do it--let's get serious about this Jesus life. Let's be Jesus to those around us and see what happens. Whatever happens, I have a feeling it's gonna be great! Let's go!
(And if you have a story to share, please feel free to add it in the comments--we'd love to hear from you. Let's change the world one step at a time.)