Joseph the Steward
Matthew 1:18-25 – 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
Again it is quite easy to see that Joseph the son of Jacob was a steward. The dictionary describes a steward as ‘A person employed to manage or look after (another’s property).’ Joseph was a steward in Potiphar’s house, he was steward in the prison and eventually rose to be the chief steward over the resources of Egypt and managed a global crisis successfully. Stewards are very very important people.
Today, I want to continue my reflections of Joseph the husband of Mary, the Stepfather of Jesus Christ. Yes, Joseph the carpenter was a great steward. He was a steward in three main areas. I will examine each separately and draw some conclusions that we can apply to our lives.
Joseph was God’s steward. God had a most important project on the earth. It had to be executed in a specific time frame. It had to be done exactly as He planned it and nothing can go wrong. So God looked into the world and found just one man with the right pedigree (his genealogy was traced all the way back to Abraham, David and all those great men from the tribe of Judah, including Boaz), the right character and temperament to steward three most important projects.
The first one was stewardship of his own life. Joseph probably was born in Bethlehem, but at some point moved up to Nazareth. The bible is silent about this remarkable man’s formative years and all we can do is speculate. But he was in Nazareth and ran a successful business there. He was a carpenter and at the right time, he selected a wife, and was betrothed to her.
For a man to be engaged to a young lady in the Jewish culture, it required a lot of commitments. Spiritual, physical and emotional as well as financial. Do you know that during the season of betrothal, the man is required to go and build or prepare a house or make a place suitable for him and his bride to dwell in. Now you know why Jesus said to the Church that He is going away to prepare a place for us. Amazing!
John 14:2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Betrothal is a community affair. Everyone knows what is happening and everyone is looking forward to the wedding date. It is nearly never broken off, unless death or serious infidelity. In which case the offending partner is summarily executed by the whole community by stoning them to death.
That’s why I find it so disheartening to hear of men calling off engagements and breaking public promises to marry a lady and vice versa. It is just not done. It speaks volumes of the character of those individuals. It simply reveals the stuff they are made off. (Another topic for another day!).
Clearly Joseph had no skeletons in his cupboards or else he would have been deemed unworthy of such a bride like Mary. His life was lived well before all. This seems to be ignored these days, as people are quick to pass off certain indiscretions as youthful exuberance. But stewarding one’s life in a clean and pure way even if people never acknowledge this, is very important and the Lord most certainly sees this. For God to choose Joseph he must have lived correctly before him.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. God’s grace certainly covers people especially the repentant and I am the first to acknowledge God can use a person with a past, because the blood of Jesus washes away all sins and God can certainly qualify the unqualified. Otherwise people like me stand no chance. Having said this and knowing what I now know, giving another opportunity, I would certainly make different choices with my early life. Truly, I appreciate the value of living right.
For Joseph to be chosen by God, and I know he was selected, he did not just stumble into this call, he had to have been a good steward of his personal and community life.
The bible describes him as a just man. The word just is the greek Dikaios, meaning clean, upright, balanced, innocent and holy. These are all qualities one can safely assume Joseph possessed and as such stewarded his life so he became useful to God for the purpose God required of him.
To conclude, Joseph was the right man in the right place because he had the right character, value systems and moral rectitude to perform the tasks God assigned to him. He was first a faithful steward of his own life before he could steward others.
My question to you today is are you a good steward of your personal life? Are you faithful when no one is watching? Are you morally sound, just, holy and righteous before God and man? Can God count on you in the day He needs a person to act for Him? If your answer is yes, then all I can say is God’s reward is coming, but if your answer is no, I definitely need to improve, then I want to encourage you. The first thing is to acknowledge you are not the best you and you want to change. Second is to make up your mind to stop something and start some things. Whatever they are. You know them. Third, ask God for help and grace. 4. Believe you have the power to change and become much better and you will. Perhaps one more thing, find someone you can be accountable to on your new decision.
Let’s Pray: Father God we thank you for opening our eyes to see the man Joseph and explore the stewardship of his personal life. Father in many ways we are not our best. Please forgive us and help us to be better people and more faithful even when no one is looking. We ask for the grace to be good stewards of our lives. Thank you for helping us. In Jesus mighty name we pray. Amen.