A couple of days ago, my next-to-front-tooth crown fell out. I was just sorting out gluing it back in when my husband called me. I jumped and the crown jumped out of my hand and goodness only knows where it went! I hunted for that thing for the whole day, and still did not find it. The worst of it, was that we had an important appointment the next day, and I had to turn up minus my next-to-front tooth, feeling rather less than elegant, and somewhat embarrassed! It’s funny how these things seem so important.
Joseph’s family had always been farmers (Genesis 46:28-34). Nothing wrong with that – a good healthy living – and the rest of society could not manage without them. The Egyptians didn’t quite see it like that though – they thought a bunch of sheep farmers were the pits. Wouldn’t it be a bit of a come-down for Big Cheese Joseph to have such a humble background? But Joseph and Pharaoh both were shrewd business men. Good shepherds were in short supply in Egypt. With some quality farmers around, the price of lamb was about to come down – famine or no famine. You might have thought Joseph would have been embarrassed to admit to such lowly beginnings, but not a bit of it. His self-esteem was firm because God enabled him to be worthy of the honour bestowed on him. He knew he did his job well, because of the gifts God had given him; and he knew his family did their jobs well. He was proud to be known as one of them.
Maybe I need to learn that my value, and hence my right to respect, is not in whether I have a beautiful set of pearly white teeth, or designer clothes, or a fancy car, but is in who God has made me to be. And if others wish to look down on me for some aspect of my outward appearance, that’s their problem. As for me, I will honour those who work diligently or cope valiently with disability or difficult circumstances, regardless of their status or pay scale.
And I will be so grateful that Jesus left all the glory and honour of heaven and humbled himself to become one of us, and not a rich one at that. And when he looks at me, it’s with eyes of love; no distain, no contempt, not even a trace of condescention. That’s a pretty good role model for how to treat others.