During this financial crisis, a family that we know was facing difficulty with an application for a state benefit they felt they were entitled to. Despite much prayer, they were turned down. They appealed and prayed some more. One day, as they were waiting for the outcome, one of them realized that instead of seeing the benefit as a hand-out from the state, they should view it as God’s provision through the state. Suddenly it changed their whole position – if the appeal failed, God would still provide, just by a different method. Their reliance was on God, not on the state, and anxiety was replaced, at least in part, by faith.
Egypt had a lot to thank Joseph for in Genesis 41:53-57, as did the whole world! If he had not been faithful to God, and received from him an accurate interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream, the grain from the seven years of abundance would have all been eaten. But Joseph had caused them to save up for the seven years of famine he’d foretold, so there was enough grain to satisfy the Egyptians, and plenty to sell on to the rest of the world. He saved them all from starvation. His wisdom and capability in administering the massive feeding program demonstrated that he was well worthy of the position Pharaoh had promoted him to.
In actual fact, though, if God had not intervened Joseph would probably still have been festering in that prison when the famine arrived. Joseph could only use the gifts God had entrusted to him and given him opportunity to develop.
Whilst that may seem very obvious, we nevertheless often fall into the trap of giving the glory to God’s servants which is truly his alone. How many famous preachers can you name? Or worship leaders? Probably quite a few, and most of us have several ‘favourites’. How about intercessors? How many of them can you name? Any? They quietly get on with the job of using their giftings, and for all we know, are making far greater impact on our world than all the ‘famous’ names.
Of course we all appreciate a stirring sermon, or an inspiring time of worship. Just as we are grateful for wage packet, food parcel, pension or benefit. But let’s keep our eyes focused on the One True Provider, the one who gives gifts to all his children. Let us thank him for all that he gives us, whoever it comes through. Oh, and by the way, the family’s appeal was successful, thank the Lord!