Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Revisiting Pharaoh's Dream...

You may remember this dream or may not.  It came to Pharaoh down in Egypt and had to do with cattle.  Pharaoh dreamed that seven fat cows came up out of the Nile.  Then, seven emaciated cows came up out of the Nile and ate the fat cows but did not get any fatter themselves.  What did it mean?  Pharaoh asked all of his astrologers and advisers and none of them could answer.  Then word came to Pharaoh that someone in the jailhouse was a past master at the interpretation of dreams. His name was Joseph.  Pharaoh commanded that Joseph be brought before him and then commanded Joseph to interpret the dream.

Do you remember what the interpretation was?  It had to do with the economic outlook for Egypt for the coming fourteen years.  Each cow represented a year.  The fat cows were the fat years, the years in which there would be a bumper crop and a good economy.  The lean cows were the following lean years, where the crops would fail and there would be a famine in the land and in the entire region.  Pharaoh sensed that Joseph had interpreted the dream rightly and as a result he placed Joseph in charge of -- well -- everything.  It was Joseph's job to gather in the abundance of the fat cow years so that when the lean cow years came upon them, they would be ready.   It is a charming old story about a time almost four thousand years ago and it has nothing to do with us.  Unless we pay attention.  And then, it has everything to do with us.

Florida is the land of fat years and lean years.  All you have to do is read about the big land boom in the 1920s.  And the bigger land bust in the 1920s.  Boom and bust, bust and boom, are the warp and woof or woof and warp of Florida living.  For some years now the lean cows have been in possession of the land.  Anyone who has not noticed that, has been living under a rock.  We at Wekiva are fortunate in several things. 

First of all, we, ourselves, planned for the lean years, by doing some marvelous things in the years of plenty.  We expanded the building, we beautified the property, we began exciting new programs such as Tudor House.  We also did what Joseph was commissioned by Pharaoh to do, by setting aside something for the future.  All the while we have continued a ministry of hope and caring, by our Sunday worship and Christian education, and by busy activities all through the week that have Christ as the central focus of all we do, "Serving Christ Together". 

Next, we looked deep inside and drew upon resources we may not have known we had and have shared them faithfully and well throughout the lean cow years.  Some of those resources are ones we had set aside individually and some those we had set aside as a congregation, in the form of the three acres we have so recently sold. 

Third, we put our trust in God.  Yes, that is the underlying theme of what Joseph did in Egypt and that is the underlying theme of what Wekiva does in Longwood.  And really, "third" is always first.  Trust in God is always a strategy, ever since it was John Calvin's slogan in Geneva.  His personal motto was "Do Not Worry - God will Provide." 

"God will provide..." says Calvin in his "Institutes".  Meaning that the future events are foreknown to God.  And also, "to resign the management of an unknown business to the will of Him whose province it is to bring perplexed and dubious matters to a happy result.”   Calvin is reminding us of the Biblical truth that when things look uncertain or difficult, God is very much at work for our good, no matter the circumstances. Our best course is to let God work to provide for our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. And to join in that work as much as we are able.  Will you trust Him to do that?

Recently one of our members stopped by the church on a Monday morning.  The place was amazingly busy.  The staff was dealing with everything from the "Monday Morning Routine" of following up on all that had happened the day before, to helping a family who’s loved one had died in the wee hours of the night.  The staff was glad to help the person who dropped in, but that church member realized, perhaps for the first time, that, whether the times are fat or lean, Wekiva is there, and more than there, Wekiva is actively engaged in doing the broad range of work that we call the ministry and mission of the Church.

All this takes giving - your giving.  In this month, we could call it your "Thanksgiving" and we would be correct.  May November be a month of your thanks-giving, from All Saints Sunday (November 4), when we are thankfully for our church members who have entered the Church Triumphant, through Veterans' Recognition Sunday (November 11), when we are thankful for all who serve in our armed forces, to the BIG Thanksgiving Sunday (November 21) when we remember the Pilgrims and Native Americans whose meager feast in a lean cow year was nonetheless so heartfelt that we are still doing today what they did then.  And what Joseph did in Egypt, so many epochs before.

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