Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. Genesis 37:5
Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same.God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.” Genesis 41:25
I know there are some theological problems with comparing our Spiritual gifts to “super powers”…no doubt even more problems than I am aware of. Still, it makes me happy to think of them that way. So indulge me, please, for just this one post, because I believe the story of Joseph and his particular spiritual gift reads like a classic Marvel Comics super hero tale. He was like one of the X-Men with his super power of prophetic dreams and their interpretations.
Like most classic super heros, Joseph had a rough start with his gift. He wasn’t very polished in how he used it. It caused others to hate him and he just mishandled it more often than not. His fumbling of it got him sold into slavery by his spiteful brothers. Of course, years later, he would look back and see that was God’s plan all along. But in the meantime, his gift would cause him much pain.
As he matured, he came to understand the power and began to use it to help others (every super hero faces a crossroads early on when he/she must decide whether to use his/her power for good or for evil). As he made that choice more and more often, great and amazing things began to happen around him and he eventually rose to extraordinary power in Egypt, not to mention saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the midst of seven years of drought.
So here is the application (maybe you already got it)…
The purpose of spiritual giftedness is to benefit the community of believers (see Ephesians 4). Joseph’s story is a beautiful illustration of what happens when we make the conscious decision to turn our giftedness outward and hone it for the purposes of helping others, rather than using it for our own glory or edification. It is a difference of motive, of attitude, of the heart. If your giftedness is mostly just drawing attention to you as opposed to pouring into others (and this is not always an easy heart-check for most of us), then you may be missing the point.
So, when you examine your heart on this issue, what do you find? When you think about your giftedness, is it first and foremost to build yourself up? Or is it first and foremost for the benefit of others? And maybe even more important…as a leader in the church, are you helping your people learn this lesson as well?