Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 21, 2014
First Christian Church
Before we go into today’s text, some backstory. Joseph was the son of Jacob who happened to be the grandson of Abraham. He was the youngest of Jacob’s sons. Being an only child, I’ve never totally understood sibling rivarly, but this is definitely a textbook case. Jacob doted on his youngest, keeping him from doing the really hard work. He even gave him a fancy robe, something his brothers didn’t get.
Of course, his older brothers hated their little brother. But they didn’t react by whining, they wanted to kill Joseph. Ruben, one of the brothers was able to disuade his brothers from offing Joseph. Instead, Joseph was sold into slavery and was soon on his way to Egypt.
This is where we find Joseph at the start of chapter 39. Joseph was sold as a slave to the house of Potiphar. He has gone from a favored son to a slave. But as the passage notes, the Lord with Joseph. He ends up in the house of a high-ranking Egyptian official. After a time, Joseph went from being a common slave to running the household. He went from working in the elements to working inside and managing the affairs of the household. Joseph was so good at what he did, that his boss completely trusted him with everything.
So far, Joseph’s story sounds very much like a rags-to-riches story. Our society loves these kind of stories. We love hearing about someone who was down and out and some how improves himself despite the challenges set in his way. We love these stories because they talk about someone who through hard work is able to pull himself up by his bootstrap and succeed.
Now, when you hear these stories, most of the time we never talk about what happens after they “make it.” We want to believe that the pinnacle of success is constant, but of course, nothing ever stays the same. We can go from making $100K a year to losing a job and then making $24K in a lower paying job. Things can go from good to bad in a second.
So, Joseph was doing well. God was truly with Joseph. But was the good time a sign of Joseph being faithful, of being rewarded by God? But would God still be with Joseph when things took a turn south? Continue reading