Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
One of the pleasures of growing up is discovering our capabilities. Maybe you found out that you could write well or speak well. Or maybe music has always come naturally to you. Or maybe you are a math whiz. It can be exciting to discover what we can do.
The problem comes when we forget how we receive our talents. We might forget that our talents are gifts of God to be used to serve others.
That’s what happened to a teenager named Joseph in the first book of the Bible. When Joseph was 17, God gave him a dream that one day he was going to be a great leader. In fact, God told him that even his own brothers would bow down to him. Instead of humbly thanking God for this gracious prophecy, Joseph bragged about it to his brothers.
Instead of self-promoting, Jesus showed us a different way to live. Although Jesus was God, he did not use his power to promote himself over people. As the apostle Paul wrote, Jesus made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, he became obedient to death, even death on the cross. (Philippians 2:6-11) It was on that cross that Jesus paid for all of our sins of self-promotion and self-service.
Now that we have seen Jesus’ willingness to serve us rather than be served, let’s follow Jesus’ example today, thanking God for the gifts and talents he has given us so that we may serve others.
Lord God, every good and perfect gift comes from you. Help me to use the gifts that you have given me for your glory and in service to my neighbor. Amen.