(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 2)
Are you in an abusive or oppressive working environment? Or maybe you are single and wondering when the husband will come or if he will ever come. Perhaps God may have sent some of you a wonderful husband but to date, no children have come from the marriage. Then there are those of you that enjoyed a few or many blissful years with a significant other in marriage but God took him or he left the marriage and now you find yourselves widowed or estranged from the man you thought you would have spent your entire life with.
As a single woman of many years and one that has faced tumult after tumult in abusive and oppressive working environments, some verses caught my attention this morning as I had my devotions.
The Lord was impressing upon my heart, due to my poor responses to my very abusive current working environment and the weariness I sometimes felt at the long years of single life, that I should walk wherever and in whatever he has called me.
I say the same to you: Walk in whatever and wherever God has called you, whether it be permanently or for a season. Do not compare with others. Your journey was never meant to be the same as that sister or brother. God has your own path charted out, so submit to his will, whatever it may be, allow him to lead you and serve him wherever he allows you to be with a good attitude and in faithfulness.
1 Corinthians 7: 17-22, 24 states:
- “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised…Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, IS THE LORD’S FREEMAN: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant….Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.”
Joseph in the Old Testament is a good example of what the above verses call upon God’s people to do and the mentality that they are to adopt, wherever they may find themselves.
He was born free and much loved and favoured of his father Jacob. Yet, due to envy and wickedness on the part of his brothers, he was sold to a stranger who was on the way to Egypt, a land that Joseph had never been before and where the people spoke a different language. Nevertheless, God allowed it and despite the pain he felt, Joseph understood this.
In Egypt, he was called to be a slave in Potiphar’s house, then a prisoner for several years, serving time for a crime that he did not commit. Yet, as much as all that had happened in his life must have hurt, Joseph did not get bitter, slothful, resentful, unforgiving and he did not adopt a rebellious attitude to authority. In Potiphar’s house, he served as a slave and worked so well for Potiphar his Master, that Potiphar felt confident to put him in charge of the management of all of his household affairs.
When he was then put into prison due to lying accusations from Potiphar’s wife, Joseph did not sit and sulk and decide to fight against the system because life was so unfair. Instead, he continued to be faithful to God and worked hard when called upon to do so in the prison, so much so, that once again, he gained the full confidence and trust of the Keeper of the prison and was put in charge of the other prisoners.
Paul and Silas behaved in a similar manner. In Acts 16, we learn, that although they were beaten badly, then imprisoned for doing nothing wrong, despite the pain they must have felt, they still served God right there in that prison. They prayed to him and sang his praises out loud and the prisoners heard them. So impressive was their testimony and conduct despite their circumstances and where God had allowed them to end up, that people took note and the Keeper of the prison and his family, came to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and accept him as Saviour.
Similarly, wherever he was called, no matter how much he hurt or suffered, Joseph maintained a good work ethic, held fast to his integrity and those in charge of him took notice. In short, he served well wherever he was called. He demonstrated the admonition given to Christians as stated in the following verses, perfectly:
- “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him…Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:17, 22-24)
After serving as a prisoner in prison for years and years, God then called Joseph to freedom and to a position of prestige, as ruler over all of Egypt, second in command to only Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Not surprisingly, he served there faithfully as well, always seeking the best interest of Pharaoh but of course, pleasing God being his first priority. Whether slave, prisoner, occupying a prestigious position or free therefore, Joseph knew that most importantly, he was the Lord’s freeman.
This lesson is applicable to us Christian women today as well, irrespective of where we find ourselves and our season. It applies to the single, married, childless and widowed woman and also those who hold what society deems to be low office or high office. It applies to that woman who is being treated unfairly in her workplace, in her family, maybe even at Church and in life in general.
As Christian women, no matter our portion, we must serve God wherever and in whatever we are called and we must serve well. Irrespective of where we find ourselves, how difficult our portion, whether we have been promoted or demoted, ignored or belittled, no matter how badly we have been treated by others or how much we hate where we find ourselves at the moment because we want so much more for ourselves, whatsoever our hands find to do, we must do it faithfully as Joseph did, as unto God and not unto men. Wherever God in his sovereignty has allowed us to be in life, in whatever season, we must be content (even if hoping for more) and therein abide with God.
(Written initially on 18th December, 2017)