Do you ever wonder about the guys who bought Joseph?

Genesis 37 tells us the story of Joseph being sold to Midianite traders.  Do you ever wonder what the traders thought about that?

I don’t know exactly what those traders would say if you asked them about Joseph, but I’m almost certain that those traders would have described Joseph as a small part of their lives, rather than them being a big part in Joseph’s life.

I’m pretty certain of that because I suspect that those traders were just like the rest of us…they think that “everything in my life is all about me”.

And that lack of perspective carries over into our faith too.  Have you ever found yourself with a lack of perspective about your life?  Because I have.

  • Have you ever wondered what God’s plan is for your life, rather than wondering what small part you can play in God’s plan for the world or in someone else’s life?
  • Have you ever been frustrated with a sermon or class that just didn’t teach you anything?  I have.  And then I realized later that the sermon that I thought was so useless had been requested by someone else, and it really helped them.  I expected that every sermon and every class should be tailored just for me.
  • Have you ever decided which services you’ll attend during the week based on whether you think you need to be there?  You attending services is definitely beneficial to you.  But it’s also supposed to be beneficial to everybody else.  What about your brother or sister who’s had an awful week and shows up to services to the edified and “recharged” for the rest of the week, only to find out that you stayed home because you just didn’t really feel like you needed to be at services that night?

All of this stems from a lack of perspective.  The same lack of perspective that I bet the Midianite traders had and that I know Joseph’s brothers had.  At the end of Joseph’s life his brothers come to him, worrying that he’ll seek revenge for how they mistreated him.  But Joseph tells them in Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Joseph’s brothers had a lack of perspective.  Even after everything that had happened in their family, they still thought everything was about them.  But Joseph realized that everything that had happened in his life, even the things that his brothers meant for evil against him, God had been using for good.  And most importantly, the good that God worked through Joseph really wasn’t even about Joseph—It was so that “many should be kept alive”.

With a lack of perspective, we tend to think that everything is about ourselves.  And that lack of perspective can be a real challenge to our faith.  And not only our faith, but our lack of perspective can challenge the faith of those we care about most.

This post is part of a series on Challenges To Our Faith.  You can see the rest of the series here.

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