Sunday, March 16, 2014

When You're Dead

When You're Dead
March 17, 2014

Hebrews 11:22  "By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones."

Joseph was an important man in Biblical history and was certainly gifted by the Lord with many abilities.  The Lord spoke to Joseph in dreams and gave him wisdom beyond his years.  When Pharaoh saw the Lord had gifted Joseph, he was put in charge of the entire nation of Egypt.  Joseph moved his extended family there and lived out the remainder of his days in Egypt.  When Joseph was on his death bed, still in Egypt, he recognized his burial would take place there in Egypt.  He also realized, sadly, that his people were not able or ready to leave Egypt yet.  Joseph understood his burial place would be in Egypt but his heart longed for what was still yet to come for himself and for his people.  He knew they were all destined for the Promised Land and so he gave strict instructions.

Joseph instructed the Israelites to dig up his bones from the grave, and take him with them when they left Egypt for the Promised Land.  Many people would not consider Joseph a prophet, however I would suggest he spoke very prophetically about leaving Egypt.  He was so confident his people were supposed to leave and would be leaving, that he told them to put his bones in a box and take him along for the ride.  It was faith that enabled Joseph to speak this.  He believed in his people's future and the role he played in it.  He had a vision of the future for himself far exceeding his living days.  He had a vision for his life after his death, more importantly a vision for the people he was leaving behind.

So often we get caught up in our own lives we forget it is not always about us.  The Lord didn't put you on this earth to serve yourself but to serve Himself and others.  But that service doesn't stop with just your lifetime, it never stops.  You will, hopefully, affect enough people's lives that the impact you have on them echoes for generations to come.  Joseph wanted to be a part of their future and they honored his wishes.  They dug up his bones, put them in some kind of urn or sack, and shlepped his carcass across the desert.  They willingly and gladly did this in his death because of what he did for them during his life.  What a testament to his life.  How awesome it was to speak into their future and request to be a part of that future.

When you're dead, will people honor your life for years to come?  Will people be glad you're gone, or will at least five people cry and miss you?  Maybe a few people will remember you while they are still alive but will the memory of your life end when those who know you also leave this earth?  Or, will people remember you and honor you for generations to come?  We have a few famous leaders whom we remember politically, but seldom do we have any spiritual leaders honored for generations.  I firmly believe this is because seldom do we have spiritual leaders who have a vision for their lives that extends beyond their years, beyond when they will die.  Not only should we have a vision for our lives while we are here, but we should incorporate a vision for our lives after we are gone.  Our impact on others should continue when we are dead; it is bigger than a legacy and requires a degree of faith and prophecy.  I doubt Joseph would have considered himself a prophet, but we should all learn to speak of our future and the future of others with a degree of faith.

Think of the others you will eventually be leaving behind when you die.  How have you spoken into their lives for the future?  Will you be a part of their future when you're gone?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Gen 50:22-26, Acts 7, Hebrews 11:21-23

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