What is it you do to grow your faith?
I mean we all know if you want to lose weight, you have to eat less. You have to do something!
And if you want bigger muscles you have to do resistance exercises!
And the one I love, because it so strangely obvious, and so weird to think about, is, if you want to run faster, you have to run faster.
So, the conversation with my personal trainer would be, “But I want to run faster! If I could already run faster, I wouldn’t be talking to you!” To which the trainer says, “Yes, but if a puma was chasing you down the trail, I can assure you - you would run faster, so…”
And the same is true with faith!
You have put it to work. You have to exercise it. And not just on Sunday!
Sunday morning worship has its place. In fact, it is a wonderful opportunity to hang out for a few minutes with other people of faith and enjoy the community glow!
To share our joys and concerns!
To take time to tell others what you are rejoicing about!
So, what are you rejoicing about today?
<Pause for congregation>
Mine is the bees!
Sue’s plant called bee balm blossomed this week. And the first couple of days I didn’t see any bees. Last year they were cover in bees; honey bees, bumble bees, and hummingbird moths.
Then they starting coming. First, just two or three, then more and more!
Hallelujah! There will be honey, and pollinated plants! The earth is alive!
When we get together at the Wednesday Evening Bible study, one of the great things that happens is that our faith grows.
While our focus is supposed to be the bible study subject, the greatest benefit I think is not so much that we know more about the bible, but that we have spent together, and because of it our faith has grown.
And to think Joseph has none of that essential support and yet…
When we last saw Joseph, he had been sold as a slave to Potiphar, the Captain of the Guard in Egypt. Now all of the sudden he is in prison.
And yes, something is missing!
It’s a fairly short story you can find in Genesis 37. The story of the accusations made by Potiphar’s wife, and of Joseph the shepherd boy’s decision to flee from what must have been another terrifying scare.
Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife’s advances and accusations landed Joseph in prison, and it is there we see two rather amazing things.
First, Joseph’s continuing faith in God and second, Joseph’s discovery that not only could he dream dreams, but he can with God’s help interpret them.
Keeping faith in the midst of disaster is hard.
Never ever suggest to someone that it is not. Tragic losses can and often do, damage and sometimes destroy people’s faith.
All we can do is actively support folks in the midst of the pain and suffering, and intentionally pray for them and their faith.
Actively support them! You hear me, right?
Make our prayers real by doing. Don’t be distant. Don’t stay away. Don’t be afraid. Because people of faith don’t run away when the situation is bleak or hard or painful.
What our friends need most in that time, is people of faith by their sides not talking, but doing, being Christ’s hands and feet and heart for our sisters and brothers.
Joseph, almost beyond understanding, somehow came through the storm with a stronger and more focused faith.
Did you hear what Joseph said to the cupbearer and the chef?
“Doesn't God know the meaning of dreams? Now tell me what you dreamed.”
And in those words, Joseph reveals his faith!
He knows God is there, even in that prison. Pretty amazing!
So, how about you? Are you confident that God is with you in the midst of whatever tempest is blowing around you? Whatever challenges you are facing?
Joseph seems to sense that God is with him to the point that he is confident that God will even allow him to know the meaning of Pharoah’s servant’s dreams!
And there is more!
Because God has plans for Joseph!
And God has plans for you!