Joseph doesn’t just stop with getting to know the issues facing the people or traveling the land, he takes the proactive step of…
Planning With the People in Mind (Gen. 41:47-49) 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.
We have a tendency as Americans to plan with the short-term in mind. College students on average change their major seven times. People over 60 years old in the United States now hold 43 billion dollars in student loans. No real long-term plan. Yet Joseph during the seven years of abundance set out with a long-term plan in mind, following through on his proposal for Pharaoh. Taking 1/5th of the abundance he set it aside for future use, keeping the overflow in storage containers around the cities themselves. He grasped the practical wisdom that your grandmother probably harped on, “Put something away for a rainy day!” Notice what is communicated to us through Joseph’s process: God provides more than enough to get through the storms of life, but it happens only when we are mindful of the blessings. Not just making a short-term plan but living by a long-term principle. For the godly shepherd, the task becomes planning with other people in mind—multiplying your impact rather than thinking about only your personal needs. Most of you who are parents do this naturally—but what about when it comes to your brothers and sisters in Christ, what about when it is about the lost looking for answers?
It can feel like an overwhelming task with people moving in different directions, moving at different speeds, it can feel like an impossible task: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8. Yet, each investment in others is a way to declare our love for God and each episode of life preparation to meet the challenges. When we stop investing in God’s mission, we start missing out on maturing in Him–that although God promises strength to the universal church, there are numerous warnings to the local churches to endure–we either are defined as shepherds by our truth and love or we disappear.
It reminds me of the Bingo Night that Aaron and the youth group put together. It was a fun night with all the proceeds went to the food pantry Standing Stone. Dawn Thomson, the founder and executive director of the non-for-profit shared her story. God had really put the needs of the surrounding area on her heart. So she started talking to people in the community, finding out needs, and she started planning with others in mind. She at times had to wait on God’s timing, she and a friend were about to go out and buy clothes for those in need and the friend asked if they could reschedule. Sure enough, someone at Dawn’s church came up to her and said she may be interested in what he had, he was retiring from a business and had rack after rack of clothes that she could have. Her plan today includes two buildings, not just clothes, but food and furniture as well.
She got the name Standing Stone from Joshua 24:24-27, where the people committed to serving God and they put one upright standing stone to remember what God had done. The standing stone helps us remember what God has done for us, so that we can share it with the proceeding generations. The website captured the big picture, “You too can be a “standing stone”; for a great purpose of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Standing stones are unnatural. They are set apart to mark something special and unique. You can use your talents and resources to set apart important things in your life as well. When others notice how much you are pouring into a cause you are passionate about, they take notice. So point the way, be a great leader, inspire and encourage others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” Jesus even wanted our love to be our identity in him: They will know you are my disciples by your love.