One of my favorite men in the Bible is Joseph. I don't care for the way he is often portrayed though. Joseph was a visionary, a dreamer. In his youth he had visions of his brothers bowing down to him, then his parents bowing down to him, and later in his life this extended to the Pharoah bowing to him. Precocious? Presumtuous? Egotistical? No! He is often portrayed this way by people (even by ministers who should know better). What makes Joseph okay is the fact that every one of his visions and dreams were given by God. They were in fact the dreams that God had for his future.
The need for humility in today's world cannot be overemphasized. There are many out there who are trying to achieve great things in their own power. Make no mistake; God does not allow anyone to glory or take credit for His divine achievements. Pastor Sam talks all the time about how the evangelist Billy Graham was the most humble man he ever met. He would pray for hours before speaking for 15 minutes. He knew that he could do nothing without God's help. However, let's not be deceived. Brother Graham went everywhere that God sent him. Although he knew he wasn't worthy in himself, he was used by God to witness to Presidents, Kings, and hundreds of millions of others. When Tammy and I were going to church in Joplin, we had the opportunity to meet with T.L. Osborne several times. Very similar story. Who knows how many people were saved under his overseas ministry. He was a very approachable, humble man. He said one time that "he wasn't even sure when he was called. He just saw the need and started doing it." As children of God, we should never be too good to sit in a muddy ditch and share a sandwich with a beggar but by the same token we should never be too humble to share the stage with Kings and Presidents should God place us there. God decides where we go and how He will use us. And who knows, He may be planning to use us at all levels if we are willing. Dare to dream!
Joseph didn't make his claims based on his talent, his education, or his breeding. He simply believed in and acted on what God had showed him. He knew he was part of a bigger story. All of his visions were divine and all of them came true. God used him to preserve the nation. At the end of his life, he made his family swear to take his bones with them when they moved into the promised land that God had sworn to give to the descendants of Abraham. See, Joseph had embraced from his youth a promise, a heritage, a future. He was willing to stand out because he knew that his God was outstanding, and he was a promised part of that heritage. It was NOT ego. It was the understanding that God can move us beyond all that we know or can conceive.
Men of the church:
The Devil is deceitful. He will first try to pump us up in our own egos and achievements. He will try to get us stuck on ourselves. If that doesn't work, he will just as gladly convince us that we are nothing and that all of our dreams are vanity. However, there are visions that are given by God, Dreams that tie into Godly heritage, times when we aspire to be rightfully used by the Holy Ghost. The same Bible that says without Him we can do nothing also says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Now is not the time to forsake Godly vision. God will raise up more Billy Grahams. He will lead many more into ministry. God will always continue to do great things through His people who are willing. We must remember to stay humble and to only give glory to Jesus. That does not mean, however, that we forsake God given dreams or a sense of who we are in Christ for "Without a vision, the people perish."
Pastor Ed Brewer