Chances are you’ve heard this statement a time or two. Me? I hear it at least once a day.
It’s like my kids think the goal of my whole entire existence is to remedy their boredom. They’re convinced that planning the most captivating, exhilarating, non-stop experiences for them is the sole reason why I was born.
And who can blame them? I suppose I was the same way at their age. As a child, it seems much more reasonable to believe that the world revolves around our needs, wants and desires rather than complicating things by considering others.
But can I confess that from time to time I think this way as an adult, too? On many occasions, my first, and most pressing, question is, what’s in it for ME?
So when I come to God and ask Him what He wants me to do with my life, is it any surprise that my central question is often, what’s in it for ME?
Here’s the profound truth I am learning:
God’s plan includes you but it’s not all about you.
Take the life of Joseph. Joseph endured a number of really difficult things. He was despised by his siblings. He was sold into slavery. He was wrongfully incarcerated. From a personal standpoint for Joseph, this all seems pretty negative, pointless even.
But that’s only half the story. Because of what Joseph suffered, He had the opportunity to bless and serve others and to participate in God’s greater plan for mankind.
So God’s plan included Joseph, but it wasn’t all about Joseph. God’s plan was not exclusively focused on Joseph’s comfort, happiness and enjoyment. Rather, His plan also included the well-being of others.
Joseph understood this principle clearly. When his brothers came to him seeking food in the midst of the famine, the very same brothers that ruthlessly sold him into slavery years before, Joseph said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen. 50:20)
You know what Joseph is saying here? He’s saying, “You wanted to harm me and I suffered because of it. But God turned it around for good because He intended to use my suffering all along to bless others.”
God’s plan included Joseph, but it also included so much more.
Crop, Zoom Out
In the age of digital photography, we’re all quite familiar with the crop feature. It allows you to cut out any person or object in a particular photo so that only what you wish to focus on remains.
It seems that spiritually speaking, we have a tendency to crop out anything that doesn’t have a direct impact on us so that only me, myself and I remain.
I think one takeaway from the life of Joseph is that if we want to have the mind of Christ, we need to uncrop and zoom out. God uses a wide angle lens to fulfill His purpose. He considers all people, places and circumstances, far and near. And if we keep our spiritual point of view cropped too tightly, we just might miss the work God is doing.
Like Joseph, God has placed you on this earth as a life preserver, not only to see to your own interests, but to use the outpourings of your life to bless others.
In a way, the story of Joseph really isn’t about Joseph at all. It is the story of God preserving and providing for a people.
Has the world seen the best of you yet?
In reality, you and I have no idea what we could be for the Lord. At each step, we must ask God to help us view our lives in the broader context of His bigger scheme so that we can fully operate within the role He has for us. We must be willing to affirm:
I am brave enough to tell the truth about who I really am.
I am bold enough to anticipate the future with hope instead of fear.
I value the word of God because it His divine revelation to me.
I’m humble enough to ask for help when I need it.
When we live life like this, we will truly be Unstoppable.