Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. – Genesis 37:5-8 (NIV)
One of the joys of growing up is discovering our talents and abilities. Maybe you found out that you could write well or speak well. Or maybe music has always come naturally to you. Or maybe you are a whiz with tools and doing repairs. It can be exciting to discover what we can do.
The problem comes when we forget how we receive our talents. We might forget that our talents are gifts from God. When we think our talents and skills are all about us, when we get our eyes off the giver of the gift and on ourselves, we risk the chance of becoming arrogant, self centered and frankly kind of annoying.
That’s what happened to Joseph in the first book of the Bible. When Joseph was about 17 years old, God gave him a dream that one day he was going to be a great leader. In fact, God showed him that even his own brothers would bow down to him. Instead of humbly thanking God for this gracious prophecy, Joseph bragged about it to his brothers. Joseph’s lack of humility brought him into all kinds of unwanted trouble.
Jesus showed us a different way to live. Although Jesus was God, he did not use his power to promote himself over people. Jesus taught with authority, he healed people out of compassion, he forgave (and still does) out of love. Humility was constantly evident in Jesus life, and even when he faced the most cruel kind of death, he came to the cross in humility, with forgiveness and love.
Being thankful to God for the gifts and talents he has given us and walking humbly before our fellow man will be honouring to God and helpful to our fellow man.
Lord God, every good and perfect gift comes from you. Help me to use the gifts that you have given me for your glory and in service to my neighbor and to do so with much humility. Amen.