It was mid-way through December and I was telling my friend in denominational service how I had preached on Joseph, the father of Jesus, the Sunday before. The message was all about obedience and carrying out the will of the Lord, even when it didn’t jive with what you’d always been taught and believed.
It’s a powerful lesson Joseph gives us, and he deserves more than the short shrift we usually give the man.
My friend said, “Let me tell you a little story I sometimes use when I’m preaching on Joseph.”
“As you know, scholars believe Joseph died before Jesus began His earthly ministry because he is never mentioned again after the incident when Jesus was 12.” (That would be Luke chapter 2.)
“Anyway, I was thinking about what God said to Joseph when he died and arrived in Heaven.”
“Back when I was in college, I worked one summer on the wheat harvest. Do you know what that is?”
I said, “College boys working from Texas to the Dakotas driving combines.”
“Right. It’s all day, seven days a week. One of our neighbors had recruited me and was our crew chief. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life.”
“At the end of the summer when I got home, all I wanted to do was sleep. But the second day, my father came into my room and said, ‘Get dressed, son. I want you to go with me somewhere.'”
“We got in the pickup truck and drove about 20 miles. I had no idea where we were going.”
“We drove up into the yard of the man who had been my crew chief. Dad knocked and the man came to the door.”
“Dad stuck out his hand and said, ‘I just want to thank you for taking care of my son.'”
“And with that, we walked off the porch and drove the 20 miles back home.”
“You talk about making an impression on a boy about how important he was to his father!”
Then, my friend paused and said, “And Joe, I think when Joseph arrived in Heaven, the Father met him and said, ‘I just want to thank you for taking care of my Son.'”
That friend whose father taught him an unforgettable lesson regarding his worth is Lynn Clayton, longtime editor of our (Louisiana) Baptist Message, the weekly paper of our state convention. Lynn is retired now, and with another longtime buddy of mine, Joe Joslin, is leading a church in the DeRidder, LA, area.
Anyone who gives me a great story is a friend for life!
(Note: Pastors and teachers, you do not need permission to cite this story, quote it, or use in any way. We’d love you to use it! And, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not necessary to name names or give your source when using such a story as an illustration. Then, if someone approaches you later to ask, you have the information ready.)