In our study of Genesis 47 this past Sunday, Pastor Scott introduced us to a pair of crucial concepts we can put into practice immediately: The “wise appeal” and offering blessings to others no matter where we are in life.
As for the wise appeal, we see that Joseph has prepared his brothers to stand before Pharaoh, explain what they do, and what they need. And sure enough, Joseph’s wise preparation resulted in exactly what he said Pharaoh would provide: the best of the land of Goshen — and landing the plum assignment of watching over Pharaoh’s livestock while remaining separate from ungodly Egyptian culture.
The trick is that Joseph made sure each step of his brothers’ appeal to Pharaoh was planned in advance to get the best response from him. This isn’t slick or dishonest; but it is wise.
And all we have to do when it’s our turn to make our wise appeal to those in authority, whether they’re parents, teachers, or bosses, is implement three principles:
#1 — Tell the authority figure, “I understand you want me to because —” Our first goal is to prepare authority figures to hear from you by acknowledging their positions on issues you’re dealing with, to put them at ease, to help them feel like they are understood.
#2 — Tell the authority figure, “I have a problem with that because —” You then must respectfully express your desire. Joseph’s brothers were able to do that with Pharaoh, telling him they lacked pasture for their flocks.
#3 — Ask the authority figure, “So, could you please —” The key is to ask rather than demand, complain, badger, or harp on. It’s the best approach for receiving a positive response. And sure enough, Pharaoh lets Joseph’s family dwell in the land of Goshen.
The other aspect to Pastor Scott’s message was Jacob’s unusual gesture of blessing Pharaoh, the ultimate earthly power as far as the eye could see — and who is most definitely not used to being in such a position, especially from a man of Jacob’s background.
Thing is, though, Jacob realizes he has power that Pharaoh doesn’t by virtue of the fact that God has gone before him throughout is life, which still has been difficult at times. But that’s OK! Just as Jacob realized he had blessings to give despite his far-from-perfect past and broken state, so can we bless others even if lives sometimes have been an up-and-down experience.
We live in a broken world — but don’t let that stark truth deter you from blessing other people. Don’t let it keep you down or distract you from the goal to be a blessing to others who may need exactly what you can give to them today, right now.
Pastor Scott also pointed out Paul’s inspiring declaration in 2 Corinthians 4:7-11:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So, death is at work in us, but life in you.
Indeed, our outer shells are nothing compared to what we have inside due to the power of Jesus. It’s nothing we’ve accomplished; it’s all what God has bestowed upon us. And all we have to do is let go of any doubts or hesitancies that Jesus’ power and love resides within us and allow the Lord to do the work in others through us.
And this idea goes far beyond mere salvation from hell and living eternally with God after we die. It’s about being an ongoing, continual blessing to others now. It’s our mission while we sojourn upon the earth. We all have something to offer, even if our external jars of clay are crumbling and decaying.
So, let us remember that our time together at church is a launching pad for work we’ve been called to do in the lives of others the rest of the week. And let us be ready to give away to others what the Lord freely gave to us, at any time and in any place.