“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20
What are you dreaming? Are you ready for abundance?
In Genesis 41, Pharaoh has 2 dreams: one of seven skinny cows devouring seven fat cows; and the other of seven scrawny ears of corn devouring seven fat ears. No one in Pharaoh’s household could figure out these dreams. And as if under pressure, the butler remembers Joseph.
Two years prior, the meaning of butler’s dream was revealed. Everything that Joseph said would come to pass happened. As Joseph is brought out of prison, as in the past, he calls on God to be the Interpreter.
After Joseph shares the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams he is appointed governor of Egypt. Not only is he placed second in command but he is given a wife! And they proceed to have two children named Manasseh and Ephraim.
As Joseph predicted, Egypt prospers for seven years. During this time they set aside twenty percent of their harvest. This ensures their survival during seven lean years that follow. The surrounding people who experience the famine also benefit. They were able to find food in Egypt.
Genesis chapter 41 gives us at least three takeaways:
1. The importance of humility and self-confidence (Gen 41:16, 33-36.)
Whether you find yourself in a job interview or in line for a promotion, be humble but at the same time confident of your God given abilities.
2. The importance of training.
Joseph spent time in Potiphar’s house and in prison where he honed his leadership and organizational skills. He was now ready to take on a bigger assignment. You may be grinding away in school wondering what good would this knowledge be later in life? Why do I need this practicum? Why do I need this apprenticeship?
It’s not always about talent. Training is an essential ingredient in preparing us for the next step.
3. The importance of saving not just for retirement but the rainy days that come before.
In our lifetime, will we at some point experience a famine or financial hardship? Quite possibly. When the disciples asked Jesus what will be a sign of your return he said,
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Matthew 24:7 KJV
So how are we preparing for that impending famine? I know some of us have weathered a storm or two and can give tips on financial planning. Nevertheless, I want to share particularly with my younger readers, seven tips from Dave Ramsey’s ‘financial peace program’ that are pertinent to surviving lean days and thriving in the future:
1. Save $1,000 in a beginner emergency fund.
2. Pay off all debt (except maybe if you have a mortgage) using the debt snowball method. Smallest bills first followed by larger ones.
3. Put 3-6 months of expenses in savings.
4. Invest 15% of your household income in a retirement savings instrument
5. If you have children, save for their education preferably through a tax-favored plan
6. Pay off the mortgage early if you have one
7. Build wealth, but at the same time remember to share and return a faithful tithe
We often forget the dreams we have. Don’t ask me what I dreamt last night? I couldn’t tell you.
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King in his infamous I have a dream speech said,
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and before the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together….
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
As we observe current events, we can’t help but think, ‘when will MLK’s dream be completely fulfilled?’ Racism and prejudice is certainly not unique to any one country. Beside the struggle of blacks against whites in America, we have West Indians in Trinidad and Guyana fighting for political power, and wealth. There is tribal warfare in Africa. Jews and Muslims in the Middle East are fighting for land. In which country are all men treated fairly?
There is a notion that an improvement in the quality of life will bring equality among all people. Indeed, over the centuries of earth’s history, in many parts of the world we have seen vast improvements in living conditions. Modern inventions through relentless effort and research have produced phenomenal achievements in areas such as transportation, communication, agriculture and manufacturing, technology, science and health. We have gone to the moon. We have exceeded expectations time and again. However, the scourge of mankind is the ability to relate to one another, to show genuine concern, to understand and demonstrate what true love is.
There is a utopian view that one day we will all come together on this earth and sing as it were ‘Kumbaya.’ All human beings deserve respect and should be treated with dignity. Unfortunately, with our greed and selfish natures, inequality across people and nations may exist till the end of time.
In the last fifty years or so, we have seen in America some progress with regards to human rights. However, there is still much work to be done. Racism must be denounced. The fight must continue for reforms within the judicial system, equal opportunities in the education system, and in the work environment. We must seek improvement in every facet of life. One day MLK’s dream will be fulfilled, whether here on earth or in God’s Kingdom. Let us continue to dream of abundance!
Short story. I work in a building that is close to train lines and sometimes I rush to beat the crossing of a train. It is no fun just waiting for a train to cross especially when you are trying to make it home after a long day. When I’m about to leave the parking lot I usually think, ‘a train must be coming.’ Because they always do. This week the guard rails that block the tracks almost hit me….
It’s guaranteed. A train is coming. Not one that we want to avoid. It’s a special train with a divine destination. A destination with abundance. So let’s keep dreaming about it!
A Prayer for Today
Lord we look forward to that day when you will make all things new. Keep us assured and safe in your love as we focus on serving others. Give us strength to persevere. Prosper our efforts as you see fit and we’ll be sure to give you the praise. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Blessings to all.