The One That Sticks Out
Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.
He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?” So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
The Demand for a Sign1
The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away.
They say it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, but it is also true that it is the nail that stands out that gets the hammer. One of these is an American and the other is a Japanese proverb. I see both in both cultures. It can be hard to tell when it is the appropriate time to stand out and when it is time to duck your head down and conform to everyone else around you.
Some people conform better than others. I struggle at times because I think if I do not see that person that seems to always stick out, that person may be me. Joseph was definitely that person. Worse, he did not have an off button. Maybe he was somewhere on the autism spectrum and was always stuck in his own head, unable to notice the grumpy faces of his brothers when he started talking about his dreams. On the other hand, maybe he was just a jerk and knew exactly how he was tormenting them. It didn’t matter. The effect was the same. They couldn’t take it. (To be continued…)
Jesus faced a similar kind of opposition. There were so many things that seemed so blatantly obvious to Him about God to which everyone else was completely oblivious. I know He was frustrated by their lack of… well sight. They were blind to a whole world that He saw plain as day. They thought they were wise in their modern era of plumbing and libraries, but they were no better at being able to see the movement of God than their ancestors that wandered in the wilderness.
So perhaps it all comes down to this question: Are we sticking out because we want to be seen or because of something we see? Jesus could have drawn much more attention to Himself than He did. Instead He pointed to the God He saw everywhere He went. Jospeh had to take a long journey to learn that kind of humility in the spotlight. Where are you in that journey?
Do you feel like you stand out from the crowd? Is it because of your choices?
Can you see God moving in the lives of those around you or only in your own life?
- (Mk 8:11–13; Lk 12:54–56)↩