What American should have learned from Joseph

Times are hard.  As a nation we are in a time of economic drought.  We have just exited the greatest ecomonic boom in US history.  This whole eight to ten year swing got me thinking the other day.  How would today be different if we had saved and stewarded yesterday so that today isn’t so bleak?

Individuals and companies alike took questionable risks because we all bought into the lie that the economic upswing would go on forever.  We spent money we had.  We spent money we didn’t have.  Savings rates for Americans are in the negative and consumer debt is at an all-time high.  Some would say that our problems stem from the fact that the have’s have more and the have-not’s have less.  The problem lies in that Americans pay bills from the needs column of the budget that are really wants.  So many of the things that destroy our discretionary income are things that one generation before us did without. Katie and I are NOT RICH by American standards.  We have wants.  We both have iPhones.  We have internet at home.  We have a DVR.  We have two cars.  But, outside of our home and my limited educational debt, we don’t owe anyone any money.  We have savings.  We call it the rainy day fund, or maybe a better name is the drought fund.

In Genesis 41, Egypt’s Pharoah had some very troubling dreams and Joseph comes in to interpret them for him.  A drought was about to follow one of the most prosperous times in Egypt’s history and they weren’t prepared.  God used Joseph to prepare not just Egypt, but the entire region, including His people, for the hard times.  Joseph proposed a time of savings in the good times in order to weather the hard times.  Pharoah not only agreed with the plan, but he put Joseph in charge.  God used Egypt’s prosperity to save His own people from the hard times.  The was more food in the drought than Egypt would have ever needed for themselves. Egypt was a bright light in a dark time.

America has been described as a beacon on a hill.  We haven’t lived up to our reputation.  We didn’t prepare for a time we knew would come.  And now, not only aren’t we the solution to the problem, we are the problem to the problem.  The Bible clearly teaches that we don’t save to horde and brag, that’s not the point.  But, we save to bless.  Christians have joined in the on the “fun.”  We got just as caught up in the frenzy as everyone else instead of being an example, like Joseph.  It’s tough to be in a position to bless others when you haven’t been responsible.

The Message says, “As the famine got worse all over the country, Joseph opened the store-houses and sold emergency supplies to the Egyptians. The famine was very bad. Soon the whole world was coming to buy supplies from Joseph. The famine was bad all over.”  As Christians, we have a chance to be a blessing.

My question today is this…Were you ready?

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