Do you have any goals? What about for your kids or grand kids – have any hopes or dreams for them? Of course you do. I do too. And we should. Without dreams that grow into goals and goals that beseech us to try we wouldn’t have things like indoor plumbing or best selling novels or the Olympics or HGTV. That’s right we’d be living in a world without books and Olympians and Chip and Joanna Gaines. And to make matters worse – we’d be going to the bathroom outside.
Scripture: Genesis 48
Key Verse: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
So don’t get me wrong. We need dreamers and thinkers and doers and tryer-outers. We need people willing to fail and try again, people willing to pave the way for the rest of us who avoid science like it’s a bad plague.
But passion doesn’t need prompting. It will come naturally. God makes each of us with unique abilities and gifts and talents and loves. What needs prompting is purpose.
The motive behind the drive. Is it for my own glory or God’s? This is what our little loves and big loves and in between loves need help understanding. Because we don’t naturally seek to glorify God. If we did, well, then every pastor would be out of a job and we parents could hang out at the beach. But from my vantage point no pastors or parents are going to be out of a job any time soon.
We seek fulfillment. We seek pleasure. We seek after success and accomplishments and money and fame, but we don’t naturally seek God. It’s He that seeks us (John 6:44).
So it’s of grave importance we nudge and teach and at times push in the direction of purpose. As Joseph plainly did with his two boys. When Joseph heard that his dad had taken ill, he found his sons and took them to see grandpa.
At the mere sight of them, Jacob rallied, and sat up to do what he’d probably been praying about for quite some time – the blessing and adoption of Joseph’s boys – Manasseh and Ephraim.
Now I can’t help but wonder if he’d already run the idea by Joseph, or if it was a complete surprise. “Oh by the way Joseph, those two sons of yours – I plan to adopt them as my own.” “Oh, well that’s nice dad. But I tell ya what, why don’t you give me a few days to run that one by Asenath, my wife. Remember her? And then I’ll give back with ya.”
But there is seemingly no hesitation on Joseph’s part. In fact when it was time for the official blessing Joseph urged his boys forward. “It’s ok guys go see grandpa.” So they did and Jacob kissed them and embraced them. Then Jacob stretched out his arms crossing them to place his right hand on Ephraim (the younger) and his left hand on Manasseh (the older).
Joseph thinking his dad had just gotten a little confused correct him, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head” (v. 18). But Jacob assured he knew what he was doing. Manasseh would be great but “his younger brother shall be greater than he” (v.19). A common theme we’ve seen throughout the book of Genesis.
And in a matter of moments it was over. With the ceremony concluded, the boys adopted, and the blessing given, Ephraim and Manasseh were forever sealed as Israelite’s. Their children and their children’s children would not be Egyptian, they would be Hebrew. Why? Because Joseph pushed his boys in the direction of purpose.
Instead of teaching them the family business to ensure their financial well being; instead of encouraging them to stick close with their mother’s family for their social well being; instead of discouraging them from the abominable lifestyle of shepherding to ensure their political well being; Joseph emphasized purpose, to ensure their spiritual well being.
Teaching them that there’s no greater honor than being part of the family of God. There’s no greater privilege than serving the Almighty God. There’s no greater task than bringing glory to God. Because He alone is God and does great and marvelous things (Ps. 86:10). It’s He who gives and takes away. To Him belong greatness and power and glory and majesty. All that is in the earth is his. Therefore riches and honor come from God alone. (1 Chron. 29:11-12)
How do I know Joseph taught them such things? Because their dad was second in command of the most powerful nation in the world at that time. They had wealth and prestige and immense popularity among the Egyptian people and the surrounding kingdoms. It would have been natural and completely acceptable for Joseph to one day pass the position to Manasseh.
Not to mention their mama was Egyptian with an Egyptian family and an Egyptian heritage. It was what they knew until their dad came home one day to announce an entourage of Hebrew uncles had arrived.
But they walked away from all of it. They left behind the financial, social, and political security Egypt had to offer, for the eternal security God had to offer. Knowing full well the riches of this world do not compare to the riches of God’s kindness.
My dear friend, are we teaching our kids the same? Do they have any idea they’re here to glorify God? Do they understand that there’s no greater privilege than being a part of God’s people? Do they know there’s no greater honor than serving the LORD God Almighty?
As they grow and learn and gain independence, let’s not just support their passions, let’s also be sure to teach them their purpose. That they might leave behind the riches of this world for the immeasurable riches of God’s great and loving kindness. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
Contemplate and Evaluate:
As followers of Jesus Christ, what is our purpose? How are you living out that purpose and how are you promoting it to the next generation?
Do your kids know why they’re here? Do they understand there’s no greater accomplishment than learning to live heart, soul, and mind for God? What can you do today to encourage them in the right direction?