It’s 3:30 in the afternoon, at the time of this writing, on the 4th of July, Independence Day. And I’m thinking about patriotism. I wonder about it sometimes, patriotism, because sometimes it can lead to decisions that hurt another human being simply because someone isn’t from our own particular country. So I get that there are problems with patriotism. Those problems make me wonder what God wants from us. They make me wonder if he wants me, and you, to be patriotic.
What Does The Bible Say?
When we look in the Bible we see some examples that are helpful. Including Nehemiah who was the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes, and Daniel who was appointed as ruler over the province of Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. And then there’s Joseph.
Joseph, one of a very few people in the Bible without any record of sin, started out helping his father Jacob manage his herds. Then after he was sold into slavery he helped Potiphar manage his household. Then after he was wrongly convicted and incarcerated, he helped the warden manage the prison. Then after he was released from prison, he helped Pharaoh govern Egypt.
What About Me, And You?
I think we find ourselves in the same situation as Joseph. Consider Joseph’s family. In it we find an extraordinary level of dysfunction. Joseph’s brothers threatened to murder him, then they sold him into slavery, and then they faked his death so they could deceive his father–to cover up their selling Joseph into slavery. That didn’t happen in a vacuum. You know there had to be serious problems in that family before Joseph’s brothers acted on their envy. Yet Joseph, having found himself planted in this dysfunctional family, worked toward the success of that family. And though there was someone in Potiphar’s household who repeatedly attempted to entice him into sinful and criminal behavior, Joseph worked toward the success of his household. In prison, even though he didn’t deserve to be there, he worked toward the success of his prison.
And finally, even though it was a dictatorship–and central to that dictatorship was the deity of the dictator, a worldview completely contrary to that of the faith of his fathers–Joseph worked toward the success of the nation he found himself living in.
We find ourselves in the same situation as Joseph because even as God planted Joseph in a family, God has planted me, and you, in a family. Joseph’s family had serious problems, most families do. Maybe that’s true for your family too. But like Joseph, God would have us work toward the success of each of our respective families anyway.
Maybe your workplace treats you like a slave. In Joseph’s workplace, he was a slave. But like Joseph, God would have us work toward the success of our workplace.
Maybe the nation we live in has serious problems. I know many Christian friends and family who feel there’s not a viable candidate to vote for this year. Egypt had its problems, the United States has its problems. But in spite of those problems, like Joseph, like Nehemiah, like Daniel, our God would have us work for the success of the nation in which we find ourselves.
Wherever we find ourselves, wherever we’re planted, God’s desire is for us to work for, hope for, and be for the success of our family, our organization at work, and our nation. Wherever we find ourselves we’re to live life in the Spirit of Christ.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
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