This week, we continue our series, Rise, exploring the life of Joseph and how he had God-given wisdom that guided him throughout his life. Lead Pastor Ben Snyder gave us his definition of wisdom as “the practical application of God’s truth in your life.”
Joseph was asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dream because none of the magicians or wise men of Egypt were able to provide clarification. Once Pharaoh described the dream, Joseph was able to give the meaning that God provided to him.
Genesis 41:34 & 36
34 “Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. 36 That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.”
The problem was that seven years of famine would follow seven years of abundance, and if they were not prepared, it would be devastating. Notice how Joseph leveraged wisdom to provide clarity for the situation. Or as Pastor Ben put it, “WISDOM brings our goals for tomorrow to help guide our decisions today.” I find it interesting that one-fifth or 20% of the crops collected during the seven years of abundance was sufficient to feed everyone during the seven years of famine. That statistic implies that 80% of the resources were consumed during the seven good years prior. It does not appear that human behavior has changed its pattern of consumption since biblical times. In today’s economy, nearly 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
In his book, The Best Question Ever, Andy Stanley writes, “In light of my future hopes and dreams … what is the wise thing to do TODAY?”
Pastor Ben unpacked the statement this way:
- Financial Decisions – We need to set aside a portion of what we make in an emergency fund. No one could have predicted the COVID-19 economic hardship that has hit so many. Studies have shown that current savings rates have increased from 7% to 13%; however, that does not help with our current situation. Those who saved for a rainy day (prior to COVID-19) are experiencing more peace today because of it.
- Relational Decisions – What kind of a relationship/marriage do you want 20 years from now? Remember that beauty is only skin deep. Look for characteristics in a potential spouse that will last for the long haul. If you’re in a relationship now, don’t make any rash decisions based on our last few weeks of turmoil. Allow your long- term goals to guide your decisions today.
- Family Decisions – What do you want your family to look like in the future? Choosing to intentionally connect with your family now will play a role in how your family evolves in the future. Just as you need to invest in your financial future, you need to invest your time and energy into growing your family’s future. If this is not your goal, take a cue from Harry Chapin’s famous song “Cat’s in the Cradle.”
Would you describe yourself as wise? If not, what do you need to change? Are you making decisions today based on your future hopes and dreams? If not, why?
Make a detailed list of what you want your future to look like in the areas of finance and relationships. Now write practical ways to achieve those goals. Finally, ask yourself: In light of my future hopes and dreams, what would God tell me is the wise thing to do today to reach those goals?
Dear Father in Heaven, you are such a generous God. Please use this pandemic until you choose to remove it. Grant me the wisdom to make intelligent decisions today that will shape my future hopes and dreams. Keep me ever mindful of who you want me to be and what your plan is for my life. Help me to stay connected so that we can rise together. In your son’s name I pray, amen.
This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.
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