Scripture: Genesis 37:1-24
Genesis 37:1-24 reveals a theme that runs throughout the Old Testament - rejection and envy of God’s chosen. Joseph was not only chosen by his Heavenly Father but by his earthly father as well. His brothers despised him as it was evident Israel favoured Joseph over the rest of his sons.
I suspect Joseph felt like an outsider in his own family. Even though his father favoured him it must have been hard to be rejected by his brothers. The ultimate betrayal was for them to strip him of his robe and leave him in an empty pit. God however, had a different plan for Joseph.
When I read this section of Genesis, I could not help recalling an assignment from one of my seminary courses. The course brought to light several of the challenges common to pastors and general misconceptions congregants have regarding their pastors. It was surprising to learn of the great sense of loneliness that tends to permeate those in ministry. Like Joseph, we are chosen or called to be active participants in fulfilling God’s plan. The journey can be long and lonely as our “brothers” reject us.
I would like to believe Joseph was comforted and encouraged through the messages God sent in his dreams. At the very least Joseph would likely wonder how his dreams would materialize for others to bow down to him. As a prison chaplain I often wonder how God wants to use my ministry within His plan. My own dreams and conversations with God led me to prison ministry in spite of questions and skepticism from some.
I liken the empty pit into which Joseph was thrown to the emptiness some in ministry feel. Isolation and despair may be inevitable in the short term but God has a way of making us stronger through our experiences. While this particular section of reading ends with Joseph in the pit we know that is not where his story ends. The same is true for those in ministry. Though there may be times we feel we are in a “pit” our faith in God, coupled with the realization of His plan, will move us past those empty times.
~Deana Verge, Faith Covenant Church, Breton, AB