I took another sip of tea that morning and looked up from my reading. I would never tire of the story of Joseph. He was just a teenager, yet so very faithful. In every corner of his life, whether working as a slave, unjustly imprisoned, or ruling next to Pharaoh, there was unmistakable evidence of faithfulness – both to God and to whatever he was given to do. Joseph was clearly “on the job.”
“So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care …” Genesis 39:6a (NIV)
What if someone took a tour of my life? Would it show indisputable proof that I was “on the job?” Would people be able to trust me as they trusted Joseph?
I glanced around my kitchen. Yeah, better leave that room off the tour. How about the laundry room? Nope. Might lose someone in there. The bathroom? Yikes! I didn’t even want to go in there. Ok, so the scratch the house. What about the other stuff? Well, how about the last time I sent out an update on our missionary work? Um … better not mention that. And thank you notes to our supporters? Oh, dear. This tour wasn’t looking so good.
Now having totally overwhelmed myself, I wondered where I would even start with being faithful.
Then I noticed my five philodendrons. Hardy to a fault, they barely required any attention at all. Just some regular watering and a little plant food now and then. Yet as usual, they were drooping from lack of either. Why did I find it so hard to do a five-minute, weekly task? Was it because I knew they would perk right back up after a drink and so didn’t see the big deal?
Joseph understood it was a “big deal” to God that we’re faithful even when (or perhaps especially when?) the importance or significance isn’t readily apparent to us. After all, isn’t “faith” the root word here? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Joseph couldn’t see the future. He couldn’t see what the results of his faithfulness would be. Neither can I. But he didn’t concern himself with what he couldn’t see. He was faithful with what he could.
Now it was my turn.
James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” I had heard from Joseph’s life loud and clear this morning. Would I just close the Word, walk away from the mirror and pretend I hadn’t seen anything?
A decision took place in my heart even as I reached for the watering can. I wanted to live the story that I loved. I wanted there to be clear evidence of faithfulness in my life too. I would start with my plants and work my way up from there.
And just like Joseph, I never could have guessed the results.
“Honey! Look!” I pointed excitedly as my husband came in for breakfast about a month later.
All over the kitchen, plants were exploding with bright green baby leaves. Each one was covered with a mass of sweet newness just beginning to unfurl. It was like gazing at newborn infants through the nursery window at the hospital. We were awestruck.
Because my plants were now being given regular food and water, instead of just having enough strength to barely survive, they now had the means and energy to actually begin to thrive. Faithfulness had produced what I hadn’t even realized was missing—new life.
God’s desires for us often (or perhaps always?) far exceed our human, finite goals. My goal was to please Him by faithfully doing what was right in front of me and to have non-droopy plants.
But I received much more than that.
As I stood there contemplating my very alive kitchen, I began to wonder what else I might be missing out on. What else might I be settling for, yet not realize it? What else might I not know was possible, yet thought I did? Could I be starving myself too? What other vibrant new life—perhaps on a much larger scale—might I be passing up unaware?
Something as simple as watering my plants had given me a small taste of the power of faithfulness. Now I was hungry for more.
How about you?