The Power of a Dream: The Right Stuff
Pastor Rick in Voorhees warned us that week three of the series on Joseph (Genesis 37- 50) had all the elements of a lifetime movie. Prior to this sermon, we experienced a father who played favorites, an ignorantly arrogant teenager and ten brothers consumed by envy and jealousy. Being sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph appeared to be headed for doom. But God was with Joseph, and he knew God would never let him down.
Joseph was sold into the house of Potiphar and quickly advanced from a servant to the master’s personal attendant. After observing Joseph’s good, loyal and faithful character, Potiphar put him in charge of everything. No other employee was above Joseph, and all had to report to him. Pastor Rick explained that how we live matters especially during tough times. When times are good, observers expect the cheery, positive you, but if you can maintain your faith and attitude during challenging times, people not only notice, but want to know how you do it. What a perfect time to witness.
This past Saturday a local television station presented their Best of the Class of 2018 show. Top students from everywhere in the Delaware valley were interviewed and highlighted. They were asked about their dreams. Like Joseph many were reaching for the stars. It was obvious these students grew up with values and their experiences gave them opportunities to develop these values into positive character traits.
Every adult knows that not all dreams follow a straight-line path. Often the path is filled with potholes, forks in the road, detours and road blocks. What will these students do when their idealism encounters the school of hard knocks?
Will they have the faith of Joseph and security in knowing that ultimately God will never abandon them. Are they playing their life for their parents, friends or the audience of One? Will they maintain their structural, moral integrity during tests of faith? Will they sin when only God would know? Will they be able to walk away when the stakes are high because it is the right thing to do? Will they have the right stuff?
Pastor Rick used the example of Kate Wynja, a South Dakota Class A high school golf champion who gave up her victory, and the school’s championship by reporting a rule violation on her score card. She didn’t need the erroneous stroke; only she would know, but she did the right thing. She was playing for an audience of One.
Joseph had it all. He had risen from slave to second in command of a major Egyptian household but refusing the temptation to sleep with the master’s wife (think Real Housewives of Egypt) landed him in jail.
Did Kate wither from sight? Did Joseph curse God and die in prison? In Kate’s case her story is being retold favorably. She has become a model of personal integrity which gives adults hope in the future generation. Ultimately this will serve the Kingdom far more than a golf trophy. In Joseph’s case well, you can either read ahead in Genesis (which Pastor Rick advises) or tune in next week.
In the meantime, Pastor Rick has a few questions for you to ponder:
What is the next right thing you need to do to make progress on your dream?
Do you believe that God will never leave you no matter what?
3. Is your integrity in sync with your values and character? Remember, you are constantly witnessing to observers.
Most employees have experienced the corporate leadership change. A new supervisor, building head or CEO comes aboard and states the values of the company, the family nature of the workplace and how together the company will succeed. New politicians do the same thing.
Listen to those speeches closely and then check the integrity when (not if) tough times hit. Are the values maintained or are the weak thrown under the bus because it is just too inconvenient to practice what was preached?
Did Jesus throw you under the bus when faced with the cross?
When life puts you in a pitch-black place, remember author Christine Caine’s quote,
“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried but you’ve actually been planted.” God’s light will allow you to sprout anew.