One day God found such favor in his servant, Solomon, that he came to him with an amazing offer. He offered to give to Solomon anything he wanted. He could have all the riches of the earth. He could have rule over all the nations. He could have any woman he wanted. Instead, Solomon asked simply for wisdom, so that he could govern God’s people effectively.
I heard a pastor once telling a personal story about how God had used that story in his life. This pastor had been faithful to God for a long time, and felt released to ask God for one thing, the way that Solomon did. He shared how he asked for a loving marriage, and has never regretted it.
Since that time, I’ve wondered what it would be like to have God give me that opportunity. If God could find me so faithful that I felt released to ask him for one thing, what would I ask for? What would you ask for? Perhaps my answer will change over time, but for the last year, the answer has been the same: influence. I would ask God to increase my influence with people. It would be an incredible burden and responsibility to be gifted with great influence, and my fear is that I would squander it. For that reason, I don’t really want it right now, but I want to become the kind of man that would use it exclusively for the glory of God.
It is with this in mind, that I read the account of Joseph’s rise to power in Genesis 41. He came through hardship and unjust treatment only to be given an opportunity at greatness in front of Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh asks him to interpret his dreams which his wisest of counselors could not do. Joseph has one chance to make a good impression and you’d think that he would want to make sure that he looked good in the eyes of Pharaoh. Most of us would see this as an opportunity to feign humility while in reality extolling our own virtues, in order that we could win favor with the King. Perhaps this is where Joseph gives us the best lesson of all: Always give credit to God.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” – Genesis 41:15-16
It was a big risk to be that cheeky with Pharaoh. Knowing the situation, my response might have sounded like “Sure I’ll give it a try. Whatcha got?” Joseph’s response however is the ideal mix of faith (that without question God would provide the interpretation) and humility (in that Joseph would really just be the messenger).
This story reminds me of how much I have to learn if I want to be trusted with that level of influence. As much as I hate to admit it, I am still full of pride. I hate even writing it, as if it’s a secret that no one would have known if I didn’t open my big mouth. Pride is the enemy of influence. Let me correct that, Pride is the enemy of good influence, as it can only push it’s own agenda and has no room for God’s plans if they contradict each other. My prayer today scares me so badly that I feel I must write it or I will never honestly ask for it. My prayer is that God will do whatever he needs to do to humble me so that I can be emptied of myself and filled up with him.