Thursday, April 11, 2013

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Little Joey was a pest, a tattle tale, the youngest kid in the family and daddy’s favorite.  His older brothers were like any set of brothers with each other, but they all despised little Joey.  He would show up for breakfast wearing his fancy robe (made special for daddy’s favorite), and tell them all stories about how he had dreamed last night that all his brothers would one day bow down to him.  One day all his brothers were tending sheep, and his dad sent Joe to go spy on them and come home and tattle on how they were doing.  When the brothers caught the little punk, they had enough and just as they were about to kill him, decided rather to sell him into slavery. 

Now a slave, Joseph settled in Egypt.  His owner’s wife wanted him, and when he rejected her, she told her husband that Joe had pursued her, and her husband put Joseph in jail.  Later he was saved from his prison when he was able to interpret a dream for Pharaoh, and his interpretation saved the mighty Egyptian Empire, so he was given the keys to the whole kingdom. 

Joseph wasn't popular.  Even when someone did like him, they got him in trouble.  He wasn't talented, smart or capable.  But everyone saw him as a powerful source of divine blessing.  When they recognized what he could do, they realized it was always God doing it through him.  Check it out:
Now his master saw that Yahweh was with him and how Yahweh caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.

It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, Yahweh blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus Yahweh’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate.

The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because Yahweh was with him; and whatever he did, Yahweh made to prosper.
Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.from Genesis 39 & 41
Joe’s story is the answer to the question you should be asking in your small groups:
How can we do good things, and get all the glory for God, and none for ourselves, our churches, our families or anything or anyone but God alone? 
Remember Jesus said:
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
He says others should see your works, but not praise you.  Instead, praise comes to God.  This is odd, because we just saw that if we do justice in Jesus’ Name, we will be persecuted – yet here Jesus says God will be praised.  Just like Joseph was persecuted by his family, his employers … still praise went to God, and through his horrible life the whole nation of Israel was blessed.

Paul said it this way:
I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God1 Corinthians 2:3-5 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Take these things to heart in your studies this week, and consider together two things:
  1. How can I behave to bring others to glorify God only – not to me or my church or family or friends or company – just God? 
  2. How can I be sure not to lose my “saltiness” and so become worthless? 

Your “I will” column should answer those two questions

In Jesus’ name,

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