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Genesis 41:41–46 ‘So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain round his neck. He made him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.’(vv41–43)

Joseph’s world turns right side up as his dream comes into view. After years with his life and opportunities placed in the hands of strangers, he is now promoted to the top of Egyptian society. A successful immigrant, he holds the highest official title, only exceeded by Pharaoh himself (Gen. 41:40). Now 30, he has spent most of his teenage and adult life in servitude, but God sets him free.

The challenge in such a story for us is that it sounds like a great ‘victory report’, instant wealth and success. Yes, he now enjoys privilege, but this is not the point. Rather, it is the fact that God has finally brought Joseph to fulfil his purpose on earth. We must assume he would not have been ready spiritually, let alone practically, for such high office without the journey God took him on. Christian formation is never about worldly success, regardless of how much we crave it. It is the preparation to join with Christ at the supper of the lamb and eternity with God (Rev. 19:6–9). Our life on earth matters, but it is always to be seen as a school in God’s service. No one ‘likes’ suffering or being patient; but if we are to enter into the mystery of God there is no alternative but to yield to the Spirit’s leading. Our life experience can make us bitter and self-absorbed. Or, instead of becoming preoccupied with ourselves, we remain openhearted to God and so become increasingly big-hearted.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Gen. 41:47–57; Gen. 50:15–26; Acts 7:1–19; Col. 3:22–25.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Are you discovering God’s leading in developing your life in His service?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to be patient and attentive as I learn to live as a student in the school of God’s service. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.