Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jonah & Joseph

This week I thought a lot about Noah and his ark but have tried to live out Jonah and Joseph in my everyday life. Will did such a great job with Jonah last week - thanks, Will, for helping us take a giant leap forward in Student Ministry. You add value to our team and Church community.

Jonah and Joseph both ended up in places they didn't want to go to. Joseph was sold and forced. Jonah was reluctant and running eventually being hurled by what I believe would be projectile vomit, something every parent has experienced but imagine it from a BIG fish!!

God used them both but I'd much rather be known as a Joseph than a Jonah. Jonah was reluctant, a racist, prideful and full of anger. Yet God still used him. I'm thankful for that but may my life be less difficult for God to use.

Joseph had a spirit and perspective about him that eludes me - and most of us who seek to follow Christ. He complained. He didn't like his circumstances. He did everything he did with excellence, a heart aware that God was with him. It wasn't a promise. It was a fact. It wasn't a feeling. It was a reality, felt or not. When I wonder about my circumstances; when I am confused by false accusations and dungeons, it's Joseph that gives me hope and a goal. Can I trust God to use those things? Can I live out Romans 8:28 as Joseph did long before it was written?

This week I have been haunted by thoughts of people with whom I am no longer in relationship. I have been encouraged by my prayer partner as we pray through making sure those now distant voices don't drown out God's present voice. It's not about learning from mistakes. It's more about refusing to own what is not mine to own. I'm wondering why this week and what God is wanting to teach me and how it works in the tapestry He is weaving. That's not mine to own either - God has a plan and my job - our job - is to live into it with the information we have at the time not worrying about what we don't know yet.

So I'm praying to have the heart of Joseph, wondering if I have more of Jonah than I'd like. We're talking about Joseph this week @ Cornerstone as we finish out "It's Not Over." He sought to live faithfully to God and his Egyptian Master while enduring circumstances he didn't like. It's the teenager who doesn't like his teacher. It's the spouse who doesn't like his or her partner. It's the child who doesn't like the home he or she lives in. It's the pastor who doesn't like his or her people (not self-reflective by the way - I love Cornerstone). It's the parishoner who doesn't like his or her pastor. The list could go on as you can see. What I see more often than not in Scripture is a God concerned with how we live in the midst of unwelcome, unwanted circumstances rather than running away from them. It's the application of a principle someone once taught me - God is more concerned about our character than our comfort. He is more concerned that we encourage rather than tear down. He is more concerned with that our words lift up instead of spread gossip, that our heart reflects His heart rather than anger and retribution.

Jonah and Joseph. Not a lot in common except the most important thing - God used them both to accomplish His purpose. I wonder what threads God will use today to weave my tapestry for His Kingdom?

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