“Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them carts, according to the command of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. He gave to all of them, to each man, changes of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments.” (Genesis 45:21-22)
In case you’re not familiar with the idea, a sign of wealth throughout the Bible (including the New Testament) was the ability of an individual to give away clothing. Wardrobes weren’t cheap! Especially certain colors that were difficult to obtain. So when the Bible says that Joseph (a man who was familiar with special clothing), who happened to be second in command throughout the land of Egypt, showed kindness, but also great wealth, by sending his family home with new clothes, including five changes to the brother closest to his heart, I can’t help but wonder to myself if we (the majority of us in the western culture) take the blessing of our clothes for granted? Because in case you haven’t noticed, there’s probably more than one or two of us who can afford to give away five changes of clothes without our closet being any worse for the wear. And we don’t even have to be the second in command of any nation to do it!
“Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was born to the giant.” (2 Samuel 21:20)
I sure could use an extra finger this morning, an extra thumb really. I cut the thumb on my right hand yesterday pretty good. My thumb is still there, but it’s not doing much!
Have you ever tried to type without using your thumb? Or use a mouse? It doesn’t come very naturally when you’re already used to having it there. There are so many “little” blessings that we can and do take for granted.
I have often felt great admiration for those who persevere through struggles that people with two functioning hands, arms, legs and feet rarely think twice about. I see the great things that they have accomplished in spite of their set-backs and I think about how hard for them it must have been to kick the word “quit” out of their vocabulary. Yet they did. And they’re striving because of it!
In a similar vein, I think about those who are striving to live a Christian life in less than favorable circumstances yet there they are, still hanging in there by God’s grace and perseverance. Every day is a new day in their eyes because this is the day that the Lord has made (Psalm 118:24). And although they carry burdens that I do not, they still manage to allow the yoke of Jesus to carry their burdens to Calvary where they stay (Matthew 11:28-30).
So to those of you who persevere in ways that make “ordinary life” look elementary, well done!
“God will repay everyone based on their works. On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient good work.” (Romans 2:6-7 – CEB)