Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years … And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but … God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”
Roughly 60 years of Joseph’s later life are summarized by the phrase “Joseph remained in Egypt.” Presumably, these were quieter times than the recorded drama of his early days. But 60 whole years are surely not pointless. Considering these years in the life of Joseph causes us to reflect: What are we living for? What are we planning to do with the time God has given us?
It’s far too easy to spend our lives chasing earthbound horizons such as career success, financial stability, or comfortable luxuries. The myth is seductive: that life is about slaving at your job as long as you can in order to line the nest in which you plan to settle down—that the purpose of life is to prepare for retirement. Just at the point when believers are often in a position—financially, emotionally, socially—to free up an incredible amount of time to serve God’s kingdom, they start to talk hibernation.
As followers of Jesus, we must not live as though this world is all there is. Yet some of us can’t say with integrity, “There is more than just this life,” because everything we are doing with our time, talents, and money seems to be saying, “This is it! That’s why I’m working 60 hours a week. That’s why I don’t come home or take a vacation. That’s why I missed church again last Sunday. That’s why I don’t make time and take risks to serve and to share the gospel with my neighbors. Because this is it.”
It’s one thing to have a vibrant and unwavering faith when we’re in the middle of a battle; it’s a whole new challenge to live a life of steady obedience through daily routine. For a life to be well spent—especially as it relates to our resources and legacy—we must consider not just what we want in life but what we ought to do with life. We need a vision of the heavenly horizon.
Joseph had a purpose for his life and for those final, quieter years. His vision was set beyond the borders of Egypt. He wasn’t focused on himself; he was responsible for ensuring that his children and his children’s children did not settle down too comfortably in Egypt but instead remained unsettled enough so that they might truly settle one day in the promised land. God had given him peace, prestige, and prosperity in Egypt—everything that so many of us chase today. Yet he was always looking beyond Egypt. He knew this was not where he, or any of God’s people, truly belonged. He was not yet home. We too must live in such a way that we help our loved ones and our own hearts to “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16). Whatever you have or do not have today, you are not yet home. There is more, and better, than this. Be sure that your time, talents, and money reflect that knowledge.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,