There are a few people who stand out in my memory for nothing other than that they were memorable! The guy who always used to walk the streets of Blackburn in full Edwardian top hat and tails. The wheelchair user, who had three big dogs which he used to pull his wheelchair, very effectively and rather fast – but wonderfully under control! And then there was the guy who annoyed our neighbourhood by revving up his car, blasting out his radio and racing round at all hours of the day or night – until he got caught drunk driving and lost his licence. Since he’d been buying up old cars, mending them and selling them at profit while claiming benefits, he now had to go out to work. He was heard complaining to some kids around 9pm, “Be quiet! Some of us have to get up early for work!” Oh the joy!
Joseph was instantly recognizable at a great distance, by his wonderful ornamented robe. Once seen, never forgotten, and his brothers picked him out a mile off. (Genesis 37:18-24) It gave them chance to plot his demise. His glory made him vulnerable. The thing which had been intended to single him out for blessing was the thing that contributed to his downfall. Not because his father had given it to him, but because he had not handled it wisely. How careful we need to be, when Our Father gives us good gifts, that we handle them well, and never be dismissive or condescending to those who have different gifts.
The story might have ended there, and indeed may never even have been written, had Reuben not reasoned with the other brothers, and discouraged them from murder. He may have had mixed motives himself, but thankfully he was looking out for his little brother, and stood up for him. And though it didn’t end as he had hoped, Joseph survived, God’s plan succeeded, and ultimately the family survived the forthcoming famine.
It’s good when we look out for each other. In fact, it’s essential. You never know which part of God’s plans need your input for their fulfilment. Who do you know who needs looking out for?