Every Christmas season I find myself reflecting on Joseph. I don’t think he gets the props he deserves. What an amazing man, a man of impeccable character and integrity. He was all set to marry Mary until he found out she was pregnant. He knew the baby was not his. While hurt and confused, he still wanted to do the right thing. He would not expose Mary, but break the engagement quietly. Then God stepped in with a message from the angel (in a dream) while Joseph was asleep: “Do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary, for the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20, NLT). Joseph asked no questions. When he awoke, “he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife” (Matthew 1:24, NLT).
Joseph, an honorable man, committed to obeying God no matter what. We don’t see him stressed out about the potential of scandal and gossip. He had tuned his ears to hear God and respond without back talk. Matthew records 3 more angel encounters (in dreams) for Joseph. After the baby was born, he was told to flee to Egypt with his family because King Herod was going to try and kill the child. “That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother” (Matthew 2:14, NLT). When Herod died, the angel appeared to Joseph again in a dream saying, “Get up and take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead. So Joseph returned immediately to Israel with Jesus and his mother (Matthew 2:20-21, NLT). Joseph obeyed God with alacrity. God’s time frame was his modus operandi. Then in another dream, he was warned to go to Galilee. They settled in Nazareth. God could trust Joseph with this awesome assignment.
I so admire trustworthy, faithful men, faithful to God and to their spouses. Two men come to mind this holiday season to celebrate: Will and Elwood.
For years Will has modeled Joseph-like characteristics to me. He quietly and faithfully goes about his job as the manager of a copy center. He does his work calmly with the aim of pleasing God by producing an excellent product with a servant’s heart. It’s obvious he loves his wife, Janet, unconditionally and passionately. The other day he told me, I need to leave the center early today because Janet wants me home with her as she battles her sickness. She can handle things better if I’m there. I had just heard him say the week before I’m rearranging my schedule to make sure I’m available to celebrate Janet’s birthday this weekend.
Elwood is a pastor and manager for his wife Betty, a worship leader. We were talking the other day making preparations for our Jump-Start 2016 event. We reflected on God’s amazing love for us and because of that love we don’t want to disappoint Him. Elwood then said, Cheryl, Betty and I have been married for 27 years and I have never cheated on her and I believe she has never cheated on me. I would hate to think about the impact of that. I love her so much that I never want to disappoint her. True love. Amazing love. Honor. Integrity. I thought about what Elwood said for days and smiled.
These 3 wise men got it right: Honor God by how you live and Honor your Spouse.
Thanks Joseph, Will, and Elwood for being wonderful examples of “faithful” men. I applaud you this Christmas.