Living on Mission with Joseph and Radical Generosity
This portion of the story of Joseph leaves me scratching my head. Does anyone else get the feeling that Joseph was still trying to figure out his next move? I get the feeling that he hasn’t fully decided what to do with his brothers and that their actions were going to guide his decision. Maybe not. I’d like to believe that Joseph only ever intended to bless them and take care of them all for the rest of their lives and not to pay them back for the evil they intended toward him.
But Joseph is a man. Human. Just like you and me. He was obviously emotionally affected when he saw his brothers the first time and heard them talking about their father, their brother Benjamin, and the way they had mistreated him. There is the possibility that he was conflicted. He did speak harshly. He did throw his brothers in prison for a few days. He did tie one of them up and hold him as a hostage. It is possible that he thought they would never come back and get Simeon. Maybe they would abandon another brother.
The great news is this: even if Joseph was conflicted about his ultimate response to his brothers, and even though he was unsure of their character, his character was such that he still blessed them. He was radically, over-the-top generous. He showed mercy. Even through his pain. He gave the all of their money back along with the grain they needed to survive. When they returned again – this time with Benjamin – he threw a feast. This is a picture of radical generosity. They did NOT deserve this generous behavior. He knew it. They knew it.
What was it that caused Joseph to bless with radical generosity even those who had caused him harm? Perhaps it was the outflow of a heart transformed through the steadfast love of God. Perhaps it was partially out of his great love and respect for his father.
What should our response be when coming face to face with those who have hurt us? Can we show unconditional love and radical generosity? If we look at the life of Joseph, (and Jesus!) the answer is yes. We can honor our Father by choosing to show mercy where it is undeserved. We can choose to be radically generous because our hearts have been transformed by the love of God.
Radical generosity can flow out of a heart that has found satisfaction. Ask yourself this: Is my heart fully satisfied? Do I know the love of God so fully that I am able to show this kind of love to others?
We have a loving and over-the-top-generous Father who offers us total satisfaction in His love. It’s there for the asking. Let’s fill up and let the overflow spill out onto the people around us.
Let’s practice Living on Mission, and learn to show radical generosity.