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My Strokable Ego

Genesis 39

26b Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking. 7And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand. 9He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

So, I’m pretty sure Joseph is a much better man than I am. It’s very easy to be seduced when someone finds you attractive, especially when that goes against your self interest. Clearly, I’m not speaking in hypotheticals here. At a time when I was feeling awful about myself, I was made to feel awesome. Sometimes we all want someone to see us as desirable. It’s human and natural. In the best case scenario, we have partners that lift us up when we are feeling lost and unwanted, but it is too much to ask that of one person at all times.

That Joseph was handsome was no doubt a contributing factor to his rise in Pharaoh’s service. On top of all of his other skills and attributes, he was probably charming and personable. God, I kinda hate Joseph…

except, there are some who would say the same of me. I am not blind to the fact that I am an okay looking guy and that I can, when I want to be (which is rare) be pretty charming. Those facts don’t negate the fact that that is rarely how I see myself. That’s kinda what I was trying to accomplish last year during Lent. Most often, when I look in the mirror these days, I see someone who is failing. I see a sinner. I see a loser. A loser who could stand to lose a few pounds. So, when people enter my life and they are attracted to me for any reason, I can lose my bearings because I want the ability to see myself through their eyes.

Ah, but there’s the rub and here is when Joseph succeeded where I likely would have failed. Joseph, handsome as he was, didn’t care about what he looked like through the eyes of his master’s wife. He cared about how he would look in the eyes of God. He thought about how he would see himself if he were to compromise his value system in such egregious fashion. I confess, that I have let my ego get in the way of this far more important measuring stick. I confess that how I appear in the eyes of others, particularly the eyes that are drawn to me, have held far more weight than they should.

It’s also worth noting that Joseph was not a greedy man. He knew what he had. He knew that, with the exception of the boss’ wife, nothing was being withheld from him. This goes back to the contentment thing. Joseph saw his life as enough. Unfortunately, Potipher’s wife, who likely had as much power and access as Joseph, was unable to be content with all that she had and, in her anger, nearly brought ruin to Joseph’s life yet again. The message of contentment creeps back into the spiritual conversation. I can do all things through him that gives me strength… even be content with what and who I have.

About derricklweston

Father of two. I co-host God Complex Radio, a show highlighting progressive voices in the faith community. (godcomplexradio.com) I am an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. I like lots of stuff. Sometimes I write about that stuff.


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