Monday, December 22, 2014
Joseph: "Righteous" or Right?
I've been thinking of Joseph lately. And why not? It's Christmas. And whereas his name is mentioned many times over in the Gospel narratives, his voice is never heard. However, I'm sure he had his say when his betrothed came to him and told him she was pregnant -- and he knew beyond of a shadow of a doubt he was not the father. Yes, Joseph. The most underrated, under-celebrated cast member of the entire Christmas story. And yet one of the most powerful in my mind. If you were to ask me this morning which Biblical person I would like to meet when I get to heaven, my answer just might be Joseph, the earthly father of our Lord Jesus.
Honestly, I think I already have an example right now in my husband. I think he may be a lot like Joseph, He's honest. He's real. He's quiet ... doesn't say a lot. He is steady strength. And when God speaks to him, he listens and he does the right thing, even when it's hard.
That's Joseph. His story tells us that sometimes what seems to be righteous may not always be right.
Hear that again. Sometimes what seems to be righteous may not always be right.
Yeah. That stings me, too.
Joseph had every right under the sun to divorce Mary. He could have publicly shamed her and it would have been within the law. He could have had her stoned, for crying out loud. That would have seemed righteous. But he chose the hard thing and did what was right. He took her as his wife and subjected himself to every kind of gossip and slander that could come from the "righteous" of his day and that would follow him the rest of his life.
Sometimes what seems to be righteous may not always be right. And Joseph chose what was right.
What about you? What about me? Do we choose to be seemingly "righteous" or do we choose to do right. I think of the woman who circled the liquor store with a bottle of wine every night praying the evils therein would be cast out. And I kid you not, the store burned down. But then there's the woman who blessed the owners of the new bar in town every time she drove by, praying that God would enter their hearts. "Righteous" or right.
Then there's the woman who judges her neighbors because they are cohabitating and therefore won't have anything to do with them, while the neighbors on the other side form a relationship. "Righteous" or right?
And what about the woman who is at church every time the doors are open ... and comes home and serves roasted preacher to her family for Sunday dinner because he can't keep his son under control. While another young woman stays at home with her unchurched husband because he just wants a little time with her alone. "Righteous" or right?
And while we're thick into the "Merry Christmas" or "Happy holidays" quibble, do we get mad and hold to our guns that "Jesus is the reason for the season"? Or do we recover the reason and just DO the season?
"Righteous" or right?
Yep. Joseph might not have a voice in the story, but he sure isn't silent. He has a lot to say to each of us.
Just an ordinary moment...