By Bernard Haynes
“But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.” Genesis 39:22
I remember watching a baseball game several years ago and the announcers were touting the shortstop from one of the teams as the next great shortstop. They were really hyping him up because he had made several spectacular plays in his very brief professional career. They were comparing him to several of the great shortstops in baseball history. That particular night the announcers had in the booth with them one of the greatest defensive shortstops to ever play the game.
The announcers were asking him an array of questions about his career as a major league baseball player. They wanted to know the secrets that made him one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time. He admitted to them that there were no secrets. He told them it was his hard work and dedication to excellence that he committed to on a daily and weekly basis that made him the player he was.
During their discussion they brought up the fact that this new exciting shortstop was being compared to him. They wanted to know from him how did he believe this new shortstop was in comparison to him. The great shortstop agreed that the young shortstop had great potential to be one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. But, he said that he was still very young and had to play several more years to be coveted with so much acclaim.
As they continued their discussion on the comparison of the young shortstop to the great shortstop one comment stood out in my mind. The great shortstop told the commentators that the only true way a comparison can be made between the two is after the young shortstop has played the position as consistently as he played the position for many years. He told them he performed at a high level day in and day out.
He was so remarkable at his position that he consistently made the tough plays look routine. He performed at a high level of excellence that was not predicated on the score of the game or the team they were playing. I loved the way he ended the conversation that night by saying to the announcers to give him a call in about ten years and then they can start making a real comparison.
The life of Joseph was exemplary of a life of consistency. Joseph suffered through some very difficult life situations. Through all of his difficult times he remained very consistent in his walk with God. He knew God had a unique vision for his life and he was not going to let his difficult circumstances keep him from living it. When he was thrown in the pit he kept looking up. When he was delivered out of the pit into Potiphar’s house he quickly rose to become the head man. Everything seemed to be coming together for Joseph until Potiphar’s wife lied on him and he was thrown in prison.
Even in prison Joseph’s life was consistent with God’s vision. He found favor with the warden and was put in charge of the prison. He was not in what many would consider an ideal situation. He was in prison serving time because of a lie. He was in a place that could have discouraged him from living his vision. He could have become consumed with why these things were happening to him. Instead he decided since God had continued to give him favor in adverse circumstances, he was determined to live his life according to what he believed.
You too can live a life that is aligned with God’s vision even in unfavorable circumstances. You may ask, “How can I be consistent in my vision when everything seems to be inconsistent in my life?” Keep doing what you know is right to do and do it consistently every day. You keep praying and seeking His Word for directions. You keep listening to positive people that will encourage you to keep doing the right things. You keep encouraging yourself when no one else will. I will admit you will encounter situations that may hinder your progress, but you must remain consistent to living your vision.
It had to be especially hard for Joseph because he vividly saw his vision, but his life was going in the opposite direction of what he had seen. He saw a day when his brothers would bow down to him. He saw a day when he would be the head and not the tail. He never envisioned his brothers throwing him in a pit, working as a slave in an Egyptian house and being incarcerated in prison because of a lie. His dreams had turned into what others would consider a nightmare but, Joseph decided to remain consistent to his vision even when he didn’t understand the ‘why’.
Joseph consistently stayed true to what he believed. I did not say he never felt frustrated or discouraged about his situations. I imagine there were times when he wanted to take matters in his hands, but he fought off the temptation and did the right things. In the end, his consistent living placed him in a position of favor. When Pharaoh needed an interpreter of his vision, he called for Joseph. When he needed someone to manage Egypt’s resources, he appointed Joseph.
If you have been living inconsistent to your vision it is not too late, you can get back into the game. Ask God to forgive you and repent (which is a 180 degree turn in your thinking that eventually leads you in the opposite direction of where you were going). It is never too late to break from your detrimental routine of inconsistency and start living consistent to your vision because in the end it will pay off.
“Consistency’s path is straightforward and true; and its course, good or bad, helps you learn what to do.” Wes Fessler