Joseph: A Shepherd or Livestock Tending? #Missions #bgbg2

Reading the Bible Like a Love Letter: Genesis 46-47

Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “Let me go up and inform Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household who were in the land of Canaan have arrived. The men are shepherds, because they own livestock. They’ve brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ When Pharaoh summons you and says, ‘What do you do?’ say, ‘Your servants have owned livestock since we were young, both we and our ancestors,’ so that you will be able to settle in the land of Goshen, since Egyptians think all shepherds are beneath their dignity.” Genesis 46:31-34

This passage reminds me that, in order to blend with another culture, you have to use different words to describe what you do. Joseph asked his brothers and fathers household to say they tend livestock rather than explain their job title as shepherds.

Genesis 47 shows how Joseph’s brothers and their household didn’t listen. God prepared the way anyway, opening doors that would have otherwise shut, so Joseph and his family could settle in Goshen and be shepherds.

This passage speaks to me. Though my online presence is overtly Christian, God will open doors where He sends me. I have chosen to use different words to describe what I do while maintaining truthful relationships. It’s only practical. Saying I am a mentor is more welcoming than saying I am a missionary. Both words mean the same thing, but are looked at differently according to a person’s worldview.

I’m not in a habit to Bible thump my way into a relationship. A good cup of tea isn’t drunk the moment the tea bag sits in the hot water. It is allowed to steep. Friendships require work and time. Like I said in Friday’s post, Americans aren’t good at this. We want everything fast and distant. Mentoring takes time and requires effort, even pursuit. I’ve had the privilege of mentoring college kids and teens over the years. It is very rewarding, but like everything, it had its end. They moved on, but we remain friends.