- Renée Coventry
Serving the Dreams of Others, Prophetic Destinies, Pt. 19
Joseph was destined for more. He knew it! Hadn't he been confident that his dreams were from God? Yet, as he sat in prison, working for the captain of the guard, it must have seemed further away than ever. After all, it doesn't matter how kind people are to you; you still can't up and leave your chains behind, especially when God allows it.
Perhaps you feel that way. Maybe you feel chained to a job you hate and don't think God sees you anymore. Perhaps you are in "survival mode," hoping and praying to maintain a measure of character and integrity in a difficult situation. What was Joseph's response? He served, and didn't Christ do that when He emptied Himself, humbly taking on the form of man to save us, even to the point of the cross (Phil. 2:6-7)?
We find in Genesis 40 that Joseph is entrusted with the care of two new inmates – the cupbearer and the baker. We know that they were there for some time, and Joseph had the time to build a relationship with these men (Gen. 40:4). Throughout their stay, each has a dream that needs interpreting, and who is on hand to assist them? Joseph. The cupbearer will be restored, and the baker executed.
That's not where I want to go today. My point is that in prison, Joseph had to lay aside his dream to help interpret and facilitate the dreams of others. He helped the prison warden, the captain of the guard, these two servants of Pharoah. It may seem like moving backward, but when you don't see God moving you forward in the dream He has given you, pause what you're doing, stop, and serve someone else. It is important to remember that before the dream was yours, it was God's to give, and His timing is always perfect. You may disagree with it, but consider this a time of emptying.
Like Christ would be, Joseph had to be emptied of all that he thought he was and had to lay his dreams aside. He had to be placed in a position where he could serve others' vision and plans and do so to the glory of God, not his own (Gen. 40:8). Like countless people throughout history, Joseph had to learn to follow well before leading well. So do you, particularly if it is a dream God has given you. Are you at home? Serve your spouse and children. In the marketplace? Serve your boss and co-workers. In the church? Serve your pastor and fellow laypeople. Learn the art of setting yourself aside to focus on what God has placed in front of you today. What does He want you to learn right now? Who does He want you to serve right now? Today is your ministry opportunity, not years down the road when God gives you your pulpit.
Remember that cupbearer? Joseph asked that the man remember him to Pharaoh (Gen. 40:14). Guess what? The cupbearer forgot (Gen. 40:23). That, I'm sure, was a hard pill for Joseph to swallow, and it is for us, as well. For some time, Joseph had served this man, encouraged this man, been the conduit through which God would give the cupbearer a word of release that would enable him to step back into his position, and…nothing! Not a word of thanks or even a reference. This a time when our character is tested. What will our attitude be when we are forgotten by those we have diligently sought to serve? It's easy to say that we do it "for the Lord," but when you feel taken advantage of, and your gifts have been used to propel someone else forward, it can be difficult not to grow bitter, and that is the one thing we must guard against. Sometimes we will be victorious; sometimes, we will fail (at least, I have). No matter what, we must always be positioned at the foot of the cross, ready to serve those whom God brings into our path. Joseph was forgotten for two years. While we're not explicitly told what he was doing and who he was serving during that time, it was from the confines of prison. That's important to note. You can be confined physically in prison and yet free before God. It's all in how you choose to see it. Leadership is honed in the least likely of places, and God will always start with our character. Without a doubt, God refined Joseph's character during this time. God wants to sharpen ours, too.
While Joseph is sitting in prison, Pharaoh is on the throne, and the cupbearer is serving him. Pharaoh doesn't know what will be transpiring in the next couple of decades, but God is about to intervene spectacularly. We'll discuss that tomorrow.
Father, I can't help but feel like my dream is being held captive. However, I know that You're the One who gave it to me in the first place, and so I lay it back down at Your feet. Holy Spirit, help me serve where I am and do so with an excellent spirit. I know my attitude hasn't always been right before You, Lord. Please help me to change that. Transform me into someone who can serve the dreams of others and not grow jealous or bitter. I lay all of it at Your feet today, and I determine to follow Your example as a servant of all, that You may be glorified. In Jesus' Name, amen.