Desiring a Better Country
Roughly 60 years of Joseph’s later life are summarized by the phrase “Joseph remained in Egypt.” Presumably, these were quieter times than the recorded drama of his early days. But 60 whole years are surely not pointless. Considering these years in the life of Joseph causes us to reflect: What are we living for? What are we planning to do with the time God has given us?
It’s far too easy to spend our lives chasing earthbound horizons such as career success, financial stability, or comfortable luxuries. The myth is seductive: that life is about slaving at your job as long as you can in order to line the nest in which you plan to settle down—that the purpose of life is to prepare for retirement. Just at the point when believers are often in a position—financially, emotionally, socially—to free up an incredible amount of time to serve God’s kingdom, they start to talk hibernation.
As followers of Jesus, we must not live as though this world is all there is. Yet some of us can’t say with integrity, “There is more than just this life,” because everything we are doing with our time, talents, and money seems to be saying, “This is it! That’s why I’m working 60 hours a week. That’s why I don’t come home or take a vacation. That’s why I missed church again last Sunday. That’s why I don’t make time and take risks to serve and to share the gospel with my neighbors. Because this is it.”
It’s one thing to have a vibrant and unwavering faith when we’re in the middle of a battle; it’s a whole new challenge to live a life of steady obedience through daily routine. For a life to be well spent—especially as it relates to our resources and legacy—we must consider not just what we want in life but what we ought to do with life. We need a vision of the heavenly horizon.
Joseph had a purpose for his life and for those final, quieter years. His vision was set beyond the borders of Egypt. He wasn’t focused on himself; he was responsible for ensuring that his children and his children’s children did not settle down too comfortably in Egypt but instead remained unsettled enough so that they might truly settle one day in the promised land. God had given him peace, prestige, and prosperity in Egypt—everything that so many of us chase today. Yet he was always looking beyond Egypt. He knew this was not where he, or any of God’s people, truly belonged. He was not yet home. We too must live in such a way that we help our loved ones and our own hearts to “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16). Whatever you have or do not have today, you are not yet home. There is more, and better, than this. Be sure that your time, talents, and money reflect that knowledge.
The Day of the Lord
1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,1 you have no need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5For you are all children2 of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
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