Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Genesis 41:53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”
56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.
Luke 16:10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament passages deal with the management of goods during the time of crisis. Joseph became the manager of all the food in the country of Egypt. He learned to prepare for the famine that was coming. For seven years he filled the storehouses with grain until they were filled to overflowing. Then, when the time of famine arrived, he had enough to feed the entire world that was coming to him for nourishment. We know that as the story unfolds he will also feed his entire family, including his brothers who had sold him into slavery.
In the New Testament Jesus continues to talk about good management. Jesus was talking directly to the Pharisees for they were the ones who had inherited the faith of their fathers. It was their responsibility to care for what they had been given, which was the good news about the coming Messiah. Sadly, they realized that they were the poor managers and now Jesus was saying that the true riches were going to go elsewhere. They had been irresponsible managers of that which they had been given. And now, in the time of spiritual famine, they had no spiritual food to feed the people who were spiritually hungry.
Could it be that we are leading up to days of spiritual famine in our world? It seems that we are on a trajectory for radical change within Christianity and I'm afraid it will hit us with such speed that our world will be rocked as never before. In conversation with a friend the other day she said, "Did you ever think that it would come to this -- that we might be seeing the end of church as we have known it?" What if that is true? What if we are coming to the end of this phase of Christianity and the institutional church begins to dissolve in ways we had never imagined?
The very same thing was happening to the Pharisees. Jesus came and he didn't fit their mold of how he was to function within the institutional structures and it scared them to death. He continued to remind them over and over again that they were focusing on the institution and not on the relationship with God. Could it be that we are living in a time parallel to that of the Pharisees? Could it be that we are catching a glimpse of the tidal wave of change which is coming and that God is calling his people to become good stewards of the "real" kingdom. Maybe a time of incredible spiritual famine is coming at us at lightening speed and at the same time God is trying to call his faithful mangers and stewards to be prepared.
We need to prepare ourselves for the time that is coming. We need to store up our spiritual barns so that we may give out to the entire world during the time of spiritual famine. It means that our energies must be spent on spiritual food and growth. We will be completely unprepared for the days ahead if we do not get serious about spending time in intimacy with Jesus. Jesus himself, when he walked this earth, had to go away on a regular basis to be recharged by his time alone with the Father so that he could face the battles. He knew how to manage his life -- so that his barns were always full and he was able to feed the spiritually hungry of his day.
Let us put aside everything that entangles us and keeps us from the goal -- Christ! May we throw ourselves into this glorious relationship with the bridegroom, allowing him to fill us completely with him so that we are prepared to give out of our overflow as we encounter a world that is dying from spiritual famine.
Lord, thank you for the precious times that we have together. Please help me to be faithful with what you have given and provided and may I constantly come to you for filling and refilling. Amen.