Dreams and Service

What do we do when we are faced with opposition to the dream God has placed in us? We have a lot of options but not all of them are right. Today I want to take a quick look at Joseph because Joseph had a dream. In Genesis 37 Joseph has two dreams and while we can debate on whether he communicated those dreams to his family properly the point stands God gave Joseph a dream. God gave Joseph a dream and he was excited for the dream God gave him. The dream, in essence, was that he was going to be over his family. He had no idea how this was going to come about and I can only imagine that in his foolish youthful mind he wanted to see his brothers literally bowing down before him. He was one of the youngest, so it is not like he had the opportunity to lead the family.

Joseph has this dream in him but how will it play out? How will God fulfill it? When will he see it come to fruition? Will he reign in the land he is in? Where will it happen? Will he know it is starting to come to pass? These are only some of the questions I imagine young Joseph thought about. But none of those thoughts matter because Joseph is thrown into a well and then sold into slavery. From there he is brought to Egypt and sold again. Joseph at this point has this dream but now he is a slave. A slave in a new land. So, what does Joseph do when he is faced with opposition to the dream God gave him? He sees an opportunity to serve and honor God.

That went well for a while but then Joseph is framed for rape and thrown into prison. His situation goes from bad to worse so what does Joseph do when he is faced with opposition to the dream God gave him? He sees an opportunity to serve and honor God. While in prison he is able to interpret dreams for two other prisoners. He asks the cupbearer to not forget him but as you can imagine he is forgotten. Two whole years pass, and Joseph is still in prison. How many times have you and I felt like our dreams are in prison?

Joseph finally gets the opportunity to stand before Pharaoh and interpret his dreams. Finally, he is put into a position of authority. After years of suffering, he is put in the place where the dream God gave him can come out but now, he is different. Not only is it time for the dream to come out but Joseph is not the man who he needed to be for the dream to come out. In the waiting, in the difficulty, Joseph always chose to see an opportunity to serve and honor God while waiting.

So, my question is this, has God given you a dream? Has God places something inside of you? Has God given you a calling? I know God has placed something in me. God has given me a dream to tell everyone about who He is and how wonderful this God I love and serve is. I want to see the whole world fall in love with my God. I want people who are hurting, lost, broken, and confused to see that God is there for them. That they can have a relationship with the one who holds the universe. How will that play out? I have no real idea. I have some ideas and I can see doors God has opened but the situation in the world confuses me right now, but I hold on to the dream of telling everyone about this amazing God I love and serve. That is the dream.

I want to challenge us today, you and me to see the opportunity to serve and honor God in the midst of challenges to the dream. To choose to believe that God sees the end and whatever situation we find ourselves in today that we have the opportunity to choose to serve and honor God. I want to challenge us, you and me, to see adversity not as something that stands in opposition to the dream God has placed in us but as an opportunity to serve and honor God. I find it amazing that Joseph is not living out his dream. He is a slave and a prisoner but during that time he is helping others understand their dreams. His dream is deferred but that does not stop him from helping others understand their dreams. He became so focused on serving and honoring God that he forgot about his dream as we will see later.

Maybe the opposition we see is not opposition but an opportunity that forms us into the people we need to be in order to allow the dream to come to pass. Maybe the delays are not delaying but opportunities for growth. How we respond could very well determine how many more so-called delays we have. Do we respond with service and honor to God or something else? I am sure Joseph cried at times, maybe when he was in that well, or in prison but in the end, he chose to see an opportunity to serve and honor God. What about you, what about me?

I think a big part of the key for the dream to come about was timing. Yes, there is the obvious part that the famine needed to come on the land but there is also the timing for Joseph to be ready. In Genesis 42:9 it says that when Joseph saw his brothers, he remembered his dream. He was just doing what he needed to do. He was honoring and serving God in the midst of his situation and he finally became the man that he needed to be for his dream to come about.

Today, let us choose to honor and serve God so we can become the people we need to be to have the dream come about. Let us be so fixated on Christ that we see nothing else but Him and His ways. Let us become the people we need to be.

Just a thought,

Mike

Supposed To

Have you ever thought that you were made for more? This feeling that where you are now is not your destination but a stepping stone or that you are just in a waiting period. Not an I want more feeling but an I am supposed to do/be more knowing that you just cannot shake. I separate these two things because “I want more” can change depending on feelings and distractions but a “supposed to” hardly changes. The difference is between feeling and knowing. If you just have the want more my advice would be to figure out what the supposed to is and then focus on that. Wants are a good place to start but they are not strong enough to drive you. They are not concrete enough to strengthen you. You can get distracted and carried away by something else and that is ok if you are still trying to figure it out but a supposed to that’s a different story. A want to makes you say I’ll try while a supposed to makes you I’m all in.

I think it is clear I want to take a minute and talk about the supposed to. A supposed to is usually birthed out of a desire (I want), but it has been refined. It has been honed and shaped. It has been tested and its weight is known. It has gone through the fire so to speak and has come out harder. The very nature of a supposed to is to be hard. It is hard to make, hard to have, and hard to break. They are too hard to make because you cannot just wake up with it. You start with a desire and then test it out a little. You see if it can hold up. It is hard to have because it will push you. It does not let you settle for less. It needs to be hard to break because people and the world will try to break it.

Joseph and David are good examples of having a supposed to. The story of Joseph, in particular, is good to look at because his started with a clear want to and was tested over and over. David is also good to look at because he was tested by those closest to him.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. I have four younger brothers and I contemplated selling them into slavery many times but I never actually went through with it. His brothers, on the other hand, had little issue with the idea. Joseph was the family favorite and because of his dreams and big mouth he went to Egypt. Joseph was good at everything he did. God’s favor was always on Joseph you could say he had the Midas touch. Every position he was put in he excelled at. Yard work? Check. Financial management? Check. Cooking? Check. Leadership? Check. It did not matter what he was doing he did it well. When he was thrown into prison he excelled there too. He was literally running the place in no time. Joseph was great at all of these things but these were not the things he was supposed to do. There is a very important lesson here and I am afraid that it is only half given a lot of times.

The first part is that you need to do well in whatever position you find yourself in. If you are a clerk be a great clerk, if you are a janitor be a great janitor, if you are a Sunday school teacher be a great Sunday school teacher. Whatever position you find yourself in do it to the best of your ability even if it is not where you are supposed to be. This is the part of the lesson I think we all know. We have heard it a thousand times but there is more and it is not hidden. It is right there in Genesis 40:14 and it where Joseph says to the cupbearer “but when all goes well for you, remember that I was with you.” Joseph was doing the things he had to do but he never forgot what he was supposed to do. He excelled where he was at and looked for opportunities to get to get to his supposed to. If your supposed to is not hard then you will settle and if you settle then you lose it. Joseph was not supposed to be in prison he was supposed to do great things. On to David.

David was a wonderful shepherd. He protected his flock by fighting a bear and a lion. That takes guts. He was a talented musician and I would imagine he was pretty good armor bearer (even though I am not sure what that means). He was a great poet and he was a wonderful friend. David was good at all of these things but they were not his supposed to. David was anointed by Samuel to be king and his destiny was not to be a shepherd. His first big test to his supposed to or you can think of it as a “meant for” was not against Goliath but against his brother and Saul. If your supposed to is not hard then you will let others determine your position and worth. His brother questioned his motives and suggested he was irresponsible (1 Sam 17:28). Saul tried to make him more like him (1 Sm 17:38). Saul is a great example of what will often happen to you when you try to live out your supposed to. People will kind of get on board with you and help you but first, you need to conform to their idea of how to execute the plan. If your supposed to is not resolved (hard) then you will break and end up coming up short. David put the armor on and then realized that he could not do the job dressed up like someone else. He needed to be who he was and do it the way God had taught him.

In both Joseph and David, we can see examples of how a supposed to is made and tested. These things are great to look at but unless you apply them to your own life then nothing will change for you. Unless we can take this and ask ourselves if we have our supposed to then they are just nice stories. If you already have your supposed to then take this as encouragement to keep going. If you know your supposed to and are living it then find someone who does not have theirs or someone who is working towards theirs and be a blessing.

Don’t settle for less than you were made for. Jesus did not come to save you and leave you stuck. He has great and wonderful plans for you. Jesus says in John 15 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” God wants you to bear much fruit as be a disciple of Jesus. That does not mean wealth or health but an abundant and full life. Why settle for less if God wants more for you?

Just a thought,
Mike