Monday, March 13, 2006

Genesis 41:46-57; Psalms 64, 65; 1 Corinthians 4:8-21; Mark 3:7-19a

Do we recognize new opportunities as responsibilities to serve God?

In today’s Old Testament reading, Joseph accomplishes something wonderful and quite difficult. As strange as it seems, I am not referring to saving Egypt from seven years of famine. Instead, I am referring to Joseph’s ability to recognize a new opportunity as a responsibility given by God.

When Pharaoh asks Joseph to be his second-in-command, it would have been easy for Joseph to decline. “I just interpret dreams. Surely someone else is better qualified to prepare an entire country against a famine!” Instead, Joseph accepts the opportunity to lead a nation.

How many opportunities are we presented with? Some are daunting, such as becoming a parent, taking a new job, or forgiving someone who has hurt you. Others can appear mundane, such as calling an old friend, sending a thank you note, or saying hello to a stranger. How often do we ignore these opportunities? We may have practical rationalizations. Someone else could do it better. I don’t have time. I don’t want to make things worse. I don’t want to get involved. But when we ignore these opportunities, what responsibilities are we neglecting? What of God’s work are we leaving undone?

If Joseph had declined his opportunity to serve Pharaoh, would Egypt have survived the famine? Possibly. But what else would have been left undone? Would he have reunited with his family? Would they have moved to Egypt?

Joseph believed preparing Egypt was a responsibility given by God to him alone. Under Joseph’s leadership, Egypt was able to save enough grain not only to survive the famine, but to spare enough to sell to neighboring countries. His faith allowed Egypt to exceed its own needs.

When we recognize the opportunities to serve God, we fulfill the responsibilities he entrusts to us.

Mason Turner

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