Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”
React: I have to admit, my knee jerk response to Joseph’s naming of Ephraim was wrong. In fact, it wasn’t until I started looking for this video that I started realizing that I was about to only tell half the story. You see, I’m a firm believer in grit. Grit is defined by Google as “passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals.” I am pretty sure Mr. Google is pulling a direct quote from Duckworth’s book of the same title when placing the definition at the top of my search results. Either way, Angela Duckworth’s book (here) is excellent and I believe everybody should read it. In fact, I was talking about the book with the principal of a school I was working at, and a month or two later, she had ordered the Turkish language version of the book for everyone on staff. So I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Joseph had grit. Life knocked him down. He became a slave. But then through hard work, diligence, and an honorable lifestyle, he worked his way into being the top slave in the household. Then injustice and a false accusation landed him in jail. Through hard work, diligence, and an honorable lifestyle, he finds himself running the prison as the warden’s right-hand man. There is no question about it. Joseph had grit.
But it wasn’t grit that enabled him to interpret dreams. It wasn’t grit that got him an interview with Pharaoh. And it wasn’t grit that caused Pharaoh to make him Egypt’s prime minister. That was divine intervention. Grit positioned him to where he could interpret those dreams. Grit positioned him to be able to know and understand, through running Potipher’s household, what would be needed to run the country. But it was God who gave him the dreams and the favor. So here is our equation. Grit + God = greatness.
There are some people who think that all they need is hard work. if your goal is to be the top dog in prison, then that is great. But if you want to set the captives free, You need the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord to step in. There are others who will cry out, “God, I’m not leaving from this spot until You give me what I need.” He might be responding, “I’m ready to give it to you. I’m just waiting for you to get up from the altar and go to work.” There are times when we need to make our circle and stay in it. But there are far more times when we just need to get out there and start knocking on doors until we find the one God will open. The people who God uses best and most are the ones who will do both. They will get on their knees and also get off their butt. So yes, God made Joseph fruitful in the land of their suffering. But Joseph’s grit was a key ingredient in what God was cooking up.
I need You to shop up. If I want to see Your Kingdom advance, You’ve got to do something because the task is far beyond my abilities. But at the same time, You want me to shop up too. If I am going to be a part of Your Kingdom’s coming, I’ve got to get off my duffer and work for it. Help me to always keep these two things in balance. Let me ever be diligent. But even more, let me ever be dependant on You.
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To read previous devotionals taken from the January 20th The River Walk please click below: