JOSEPH: PURPOSE & PERSEVERANCE
Many Old Testament believers faced difficulties in life. Joseph, son of Jacob, was one of them. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, then unfairly put into prison and forgotten. One of the reasons Joseph chose to rise above all that was because God gave him a dream which he remembered and believed (Genesis 37:5-9). He knew this was God speaking to him and calling him to lead his family. He kept his eyes on that goal, knowing it was what God wanted for him. He didn’t do it out of pride or wanting to be first, but because He knew God wanted to use him in the future. Whatever ups and downs life brought him, he always remembered that one day God would work through him to rescue his family. So no matter what happened, he kept hope in God’s plan for his life. When he went into captivity as a slave and then when he was put in prison, he never forgot God had a plan and purpose for his life.
God has a plan and purpose for each one of us today as well. He puts a desire in our hearts to accomplish something for Him, and it becomes the guiding light in our heart. This isn’t something self-centered like fame, popularity, or a large ministry. These things may or may not come to us. What matters is carrying out the plan and purpose God has put inside you. When I was young, He gave me a vision to pastor and help people grow closer to Him. Later, He put a desire in my heart to help the pastors in India. There have been many obstacles and problems along the way, but I know that is what God wants me to do, so I continue doing my best to obey.
Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
What is God’s plan and purpose for your life? What desire has He put in your heart to do to serve Him? What goal does He want you to accomplish? In other words, for what reason are you alive and on earth?
Joseph knew God had a purpose for his life, but he had to persevere through many hard times to see it come about. God showed Joseph that he was going to lead his family through difficult times, but for the next 15 or 20 years it seemed that would never happen. He was thrown into a pit by his brothers, and then sold as a slave to Egypt. He stayed faithful despite all that, but his faithfulness resulted in his being thrown into prison. It seemed like he was forgotten by God and others. Still, he stayed faithful in his heart. He had patience. He persevered. What God had said did come true, and later in his life he enjoyed the fruit of his patient endurance.
Leadership takes patience and perseverance. Paul told Timothy to persevere and endure (1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 2:3). That’s important advice for everyone who wants to be a godly leader. God used trials and difficulties in my life to teach me patience and perseverance. One of my favorite childhood stories is about a turtle and a rabbit that had a race. The rabbit thought he would easily win since he was very fast and the turtle moved slowly. So, the rabbit ran awhile, then ate and rested. He ran some more, then took a nap. The turtle kept slowly moving forward without stopping, and actually won the race while the rabbit slept. The lesson from this is that we don’t have to move fast, but we must persevere and keep going no matter what.
All godly leaders must learn to persevere when things aren’t going as they’d like. Don’t think something is wrong with you as a leader, or that God isn’t with you. God uses things like this to mature us, to stretch our faith, and to make us more like Jesus. Satan wants us to get discouraged and quit. He failed with Joseph, but succeeds with many others. God allows these challenges because He is more concerned with making us more like Jesus than He is with giving us an easy life.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Are you facing something in life now that isn’t going as you’d like? Are you patiently trusting Jesus and faithfully serving no matter what happens? Do you keep moving ahead, however slowly? Or do you have times of great faith and closeness to God followed by times when you drift and aren’t close to God?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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