Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Give Thanks To God"1 (Lyrics)
I wish that I were the kind of grace channeller that he was. Like most people, I'd rather get it than give it. It's easier.
He had big dreams and didn't mind sharing them with his family: dreams of ruling over them. His father pondered the dreams but his brothers hated him and disposed of him at their earliest convenience.
I'm sure that he wondered what God was up to, especially after his brothers sold him to Ishmaelites, who sold him into slavery. Good fortune led to a promotion over his master's estate, but a scorned woman put him in prison.
After a couple years in the slammer, he was released to interpret the ruler's dreams — a successful adventure resulting in advancement to rule over the land. In his new position, he could have repaid his previous master's wife for her false accusations or even his master for wrongly putting him in prison.
And he could have taken revenge against his brothers when they appeared before him wanting food because famine was ravaging their homeland. But he chose to dole out grace on all occasions when he could have distributed retribution. His brothers heard it:
Genesis 50:20 – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (NIV)
Somewhere along the line, Joseph realized that his troubles were part of God's grace plan to save his family. And since he had received it, he chose to channel it.
I'm not sure that I would have done as well. I've been known to withhold forgiveness unless I thought that it was deserved. I've given in to quite a few temptations and planned imaginary ways that I could reimburse those who've hurt me.
But I'm getting better at practicing grace channelling. I'm learning to empathize with other's situations, realizing that if it were not for God's grace, I might be where they are acting as they do. And more amazingly, I understand that God uses these episodes to accomplish good, whether I see it or not.
May God teach us to see the strands of our lives as interconnected opportunities to channel grace.
Prayer: God of mercy, may we relish Your grace so that we can channel it to others. Amen.