My first full time ministry position required me to wear a white shirt and tie each day I was in the office or whenever the church gathered in worship. That wasn’t too big of a deal, other than the fact I had a bad habit: I’d put my pen in my shirt pocket without the lid which would leave a nice, round ink spot at the base of the pocket. I don’t know how many shirts I ruined that way!
Unless you’re unusually neat, you’ve probably ruined a garment with ink, paint, or food. Even with the remarkable breakthroughs we’ve had with detergents and stain fighting agents, many of those garments still bear the shadow of the stain. For all intents and purposes, the garment is ruined. Even if we are the only ones who know of the faint spot, we become reluctant to wear it any more, so we throw it out.
I think many people view their lives that way. Whenever their untarnished lives become soiled, their first response is to feel, “My life is ruined!” But is that really true?
This weekend in worship I concluded my series on the life of Joseph with what I believe to be the most important verse in the story. Joseph’s final word is found in Genesis 50:20, which says, “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result–the survival of many people” (Genesis 50:20, HCSB). I think that statement is more than his summation of his life. I think it was his philosophy of life that sustained him through his years of adversity.
Joseph had some pretty serious stains on his life, but he didn’t quit and he didn’t settle as a victim of fate. He focused on the good and remained hopeful. This week I want to wrap up my posts on Joseph by looking further into his final word. I believe Joseph’s example teaches us how to have a “can do” spirit in a “no you can’t world.” Stay tuned!