It’s Not About You!
“Why were you so cruel to me?” Jacob moaned. “Why did you tell him you had another brother?”
The story of Joseph overflows with self-centeredness, beginning with Joseph’s dreams, continuing through his brothers’ treachery, right up to Jacob’s self-absorbed response to his sons’ report. They had risked their lives to procure food for the family. Simeon remained a prisoner in Egypt. A famine threatened to kill all of Jacob’s family through starvation. But he could only think about himself. “Why were you so cruel to me?”
Indeed, Jacob’s sons had been cruel to him, mostly by deceiving him into believing that Joseph had been killed. Perhaps Jacob sensed their hardheartedness to him again and again, and that helps to explain his reaction in this passage. (Of course, the actions of Jacob’s ten sons were, in part, a response to his peculiar preference for Joseph.) Nevertheless, Jacob’s self-pitying attitude in this passage doesn’t reflect well upon him. It invites the rebuke heard from parents who are exasperated by their self-centered children: “It’s not about you!”
As we grow in Christ, we become less wrapped up in ourselves and more invested in the work of God’s kingdom and in the lives of others. Self-centeredness is a sure sign of immature faith, whether it’s expressed at work, at church, or in our families. Following Jesus leads us down the path of self-giving focus on others.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: To what extent do you respond to life’s challenges as Jacob did, absorbed in your own feelings? How is God teaching you to care more about the lives of others?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, even as Jacob responded to the crisis in his family in such a self-absorbed way, so I have done more often than I’d like to admit. Like Jacob, I’m wired to care first and foremost for myself.
Yet, by your grace, you are changing my heart, giving me a passion for your kingdom and compassion for those around me. May this transforming work continue, Lord, so that I might be more and more conformed to the self-giving image of Christ. Even this day, gracious God, may I see the needs of others before I become preoccupied by my own. Amen.
Daily Reflections from The High Calling.org
This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.