Rev. Steven Blair is the Congregational Care pastor of Celebrate Recovery and Live Well Emotional Wellness Ministry.
Using What the Good Lord Has Given You
WEDNESDAY 7.31.13 Genesis 40:1-23
Tom Rath has written a New York Times Bestseller called Strength Finder. It is based on the notion: ‘Find your strengths and then develop your strengths.” Rath notes that when we are growing up we are actually told to focus on our weaknesses. When we received our report cards, our attention was drawn to our worse grade. We are encouraged, sometimes demanded, to bring that grade up. The result is spending numerous additional hours spent on the subject which we are not naturally gifted instead of developing our greatest strength into something much stronger. Rath comments that spending time trying to reduce our weaknesses instead of growing our strengths thwarts our ability to become extraordinary at any one thing.
We all have at least one thing we do well, but just like that report card from long ago we spend most of our attention on what we do not do well. What if we spent more time focusing on our God-Given strengths?
In our Scripture from Genesis, Joseph (of Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat fame) finds himself in prison. Two other Egyptian officials find themselves incarcerated with him. When the two had a dream that needed interpretation, Joseph sprung to action. Interpreting dreams is something that Joseph did VERY well. Joseph used the skills that God gave him, interpreted the dreams, and in return Joseph received nothing. Nada. Zip. There is no record of even a thank you. Joseph remained in prison until Chapter 41. Once again a dream required an interpretation. Joseph stepped in again, this time to interpret for the Pharaoh. The result this time was Joseph’s release from prison and his rise to a prominent place in the Egyptian Government.
The story of Joseph can be seen as a message of one man’s faithfulness to God even in tough times. It could also be seen as a story of God making lemons out of lemonade, twisting the many evil deeds done to Joseph into something good. What stood out to me in this reading of Genesis 40:1-23 is Joseph’s reliance upon God’s gift of dream interpretation. He knew it was a gift and looked for opportunities to use it. Ultimately, it was Joseph’s ability to use his God-Given strength that led to him experiencing a different future.
What about you? Can you list 3 of your strengths right here and now. Go ahead and write them down, I will wait …….
What if using the strengths that God has given you is God’s way of providing you a path out of your prison? What if the key to our brighter future is something we have been born with rather than something we have not yet received? Yes, like the story of Joseph, our bright future may require some waiting, but in the meantime we can develop our God–given skills.
How can you be like Joseph and build on your strengths so you are ready for when the unexpected happens?
Steven (no longer working on my singing skills) Blair