Joe went out for the long pass. He was wide open and just a few feet from the end zone.
Glancing over his shoulder, he saw his brother Reuben arch the ball perfectly in his direction. The closest defender was yards away. Today would be the day that Joe would score his first touchdown in the neighborhood games.
His fingers brushed the pigskin and he reached to pull the ball close to him. But just as Joe pulled in the ball, he tripped and the ball flew from his grasp and out of play. He looked down to see that his shoe was untied.
Joe buried his head in the grass. He knew what was coming. He could already hear Simeon rolling and laughing on the ground.
“Joe, when are you going to learn to hold onto the ball?” It was Reuben.
“I’m sorry, Reu. I tripped.”
His brother Judah spat on the ground beside him. “Face it Joe, you’re not cut out for football like the rest of us.”
“Dad says I’m going to be better than him! He says I have the potential to be the best wide receiver in the history of the NFL.” Joe replied defiantly. Football was his life.
“That’s only because you’re the youngest. There’s nothing special about you.” Judah retorted.
In the distance, Simeon and Levi were reenacting Joe’s failed play.
Joe stood up and sprinted all the way home to his father. His breath came fast and rushed in between his teary sobs.
“Joe, what’s wrong?” asked his father as he heard the boy rush inside. Joseph’s jaw tightened; he didn’t want his dad to know he had missed the pass, but he did want revenge on his brothers: all ten of them.
“My brothers are what’s wrong. They called me a loser and said I’m terrible at football.” Joe’s face was blotchy and streaked with dirt and his dad’s heart moved with compassion.
“Your brothers will be punished for what they said.” Joe felt the tiniest bit of remorse for his brothers. He knew the trouble that they would receive. He heaved a deep sigh.
“Son,” continued his father, “You will grow into your gifts with time.”
“I want to grow into them now.” Joe said sullenly. His father stood up and guided the boy into the office. On the top shelf he took down his old NFL helmet, and slid it into Joseph’s hands.
“You will grow into your gifts, son. Take this and let it remind you of what you can become with patience.”
Joe wore the helmet the rest of the evening except when his mom made him take it off to eat. His brothers scowled at him, partly because of their punishments, but mostly because he had been given the helmet. None of them would talk to him.
That night he dreamed about football. It was a Super Bowl game. He saw all of his brothers on the sidelines. Some were special teams coaches, others were photographers, a few were players, Reuben was the quarterback, and Judah was the waterboy. Joseph was the coach. As his team won all his brothers threw Joe onto his shoulders and cheered! The team tossed gallons of Gatorade on him. Joseph was the leader and a winner!
When Joe woke up, he couldn’t wait to tell his brothers!
As I’m sure you remember when Joseph shared his dream with his brothers things went poorly for him. The brothers, still angry about the bad report and the coat of many colors, sold Joseph into slavery. He spent years in slavery honing his leadership skills and finally ending up head of the household. Then he was falsely accused and sent to prison. And he sat in prison for years after he asked the cupbearer to remember him in front of Pharaoh. Finally, God makes him ruler right under Pharaoh and he saves his family’s life. (not familiar with the story? Check out Genesis Chapter 37 through Chapter 42)
I just re-framed this story so that you could see Joseph’s dream as if it were your own. Can you imagine from the giving of the dream to the realization of it in stages with me?
- Excitement. “You called me to great things! I will do great things! I have value and are important even though I am the youngest one.”
- Discouragement. “I must have imagined the dream. It didn’t really matter.”
- Determination. “I will do this thing. Even as a slave I will work my way to the top of this household and be above reproach!”
- Despair. “I did everything right and I’m in prison. These dreams are stupid. I will never be a leader.”
- Dependence. “Okay, Lord. I don’t know what you’re doing around me. I don’t know why I am here or why this looks different from what I imagined, but I surrender to your work in me. Make me the leader I saw in the dream. Change my heart.”
- Willingness. “Okay, Lord, I’ve seen the bottom. You rescued me in ways I could never imagined. Let me use my gifts of leadership to save this kingdom from certain death. Let me help these people acknowledge how much they need You through my service.”
- Realization. “Wow, Lord, you did it! You used me as an instrument to save my family.”
What are you experiencing in the pursuit of your dreams?
How can we pray for you?
Shared by: Melissa Aldrich