Every context we find ourselves in is a place to minister to others, to be a mouthpiece for truth and justice and the gospel, to be a maker of disciples and to be a maker of culture – a shaper of the way things are done.

- Mark Greene, The Great Divide, LICC, 2010

I wonder what your response is to this statement. I was blown away by it when I read it just recently in the context of the story of Joseph.

From captivity and obscurity, Joseph was promoted to freedom, prominence and power. It was to a position changing the face of a powerful foreign nation, providing a fourteen year blueprint for their survival and future.

From a missional point of view, and as God's people, how great it would be if we could be as effective in directly influencing nations with truth, justice and the gospel. And we can! God remains true to his character, working out His purposes, completing His story of reconciliation. He invites us to partner with Him.

So what could be the keys?

First, let us acknowledge that God is the one who provides the answers and direction to do just that. Joseph took no credit for what might happen. He pointed Pharaoh to God, humbly acknowledging that it would be God at work, and nothing of himself. (Gen 41:16) That can be a hard lesson for many of us. We may think we have nice tidy methods and packages of how to do mission. But if we fail to humbly follow God's plans and direction, we will be less effective!

And then let us fully appreciate that God's heart is clearly and definitely for people to turn from their sin and to come into relationship with Him. To capture what this means to Him is critical. For it is only as we fully understand God's
passion for the restoration of His creation, that we will develop a heart like His. I pray that you, like me, might get a firm grip on how God's heart burns for lost souls to find peace in Him. For this will drive us to be relentless in being a mouthpiece for God.

As I read on in the story, I came across another powerful statement. The famine was biting even harder, and Jacob said to his boys, "Why do you just keep looking at each other? Go ...!" (Gen 42:1,2) In other words, Jacob was saying, "Come on. Get on with the job!" So much depended upon some action happening. There was no time to be continually looking at each other. And so with us, there are important tasks to be completed within our churches, by explaining clearly God's heartbeat for the nations, by communicating His story of reconciliation in innovative ways, by being counter-cultural in the way we live our lives. We must get on with the task. There is no time for just looking!

The story of Joseph, with all its drama and intrigue, gives us many examples and illustrations of how to be 'a shaper of the way things can be done'. Joseph relied fully on his God. He acknowledged God in all he did, and he allowed God to lead him strategically. He was able to say to his brothers, "It was not you who sent me here, but God."(Gen 45:8)

Clearly we have a model to follow from the story of Joseph, no matter what the context is we are in.

Sefton Marshall
GC3 Operations Director

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