Are we reliable? Can people count on us? As Christ-followers we are called to be trustworthy people. Let's glean from the example of Joseph, his father, and his brother.
All right. What a blessing to be able to share this time together. Hey, if you’re joining us for the first time, I’m Pastor Terry, the lead pastor here at Cornerstone Church in San Francisco. And I realized that, uh, many of you are listening in different parts, of yeah, even the world. And it’s a, it’s a great blessing to be able to share this time together with you.
So whether you’re near or far. Whether you’re joining us, like I said, for the first time or whether you’ve been a longtime member of our Cornerstone community, it is a gift to be able to have this time together. And I’m so looking forward to seeing you strengthened and encouraged, uh, even now, Lord, I just, I just pray for Your blessing.
I do, as we talk about the way of blessing, I asked for Your blessing to fall upon us, You know what we need, You know, the words we need to hear. You know, what’s going on in our lives. You know, the pressure we’re under, You know, the weight we are bearing, You know, the struggles within and the struggles without. You are a Good Shepherd.
You walk with us, we’re not alone. And we welcome You, even now, to fill us with wisdom and understanding, meet us, Lord, we pray with Your goodness and grace on this good day. In Jesus’ name. Yes, Lord. Uh, I want to share with you what I think is a key concept, a key truth about the way of blessing and it has to do with relationships.
I think a lot of us understand that a life of blessing is always going to be connected to our relationships with other people. And we’re going to explore the idea of relational health and its connection to the speed of trust. So relational health and the speed of trust. And we’re going to re-engage, uh, uh, with the narrative we’ve been sitting with for the past weeks, the book of Genesis and the 46 chapter, we’re going to pick back up with Jacob and actually watch how he is reunited with Joseph.
You talk about a relational moment and we’re going to learn from it. Some of you may recall if you haven’t had a chance to listen to last week’s message, I would encourage you to do so. We explored how, uh, Judah was, uh, the one who emerged as Jacob’s most trusted son. In fact, we read in verse 28 that he, Jacob had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen.
And they came into the land of Goshen. Um, if you may recall, Goshen was the land that had been set aside specifically. It was a beautiful part of the Nile Valley that had been set apart by Joseph, just for them. And Jacob had sent Judah his fourth born son ahead. And, you know, it’s, it’s pretty clear that that Jacob had come to, in his advanced years, really rely on Judah and
I think the reason he relied on Judah was because Judah had showed himself to be reliable. And, you know, uh, there can be no question that Judah’s life had been impacted by, uh, pain and tragedy. And, and yet it had, instead of made him bitter and angry, it had made him better. And seemingly, more empathetic.
And that that’s a reminder of what God wants to do when we find ourselves in seasons of hardship or loss and maybe some of us feeling like that right now. I think it’s hard to, to not feel to some degree that we’ve all walked through and are still in a season of loss. I mean, this pandemic has been relentless and in these places, God actually can grow us.
If we allow Him to help. He will grow us past, even some of the things that maybe wouldn’t have changed in, in our lives. If we hadn’t had to struggle a little bit with things that were kind of, you know, deeply impacting our world. You know, I’m talking to our world, our, our lives, you know, so yes, in a larger sense, our world has been impacted, but this past season, has also impacted our world our circles of our life, uh, both within us and without us relationally.
And so this, this message has a tremendous amount of meaning and value because it meets us exactly where I think we need it most. And again, I, I was just, you know, noticing when I looked at the verse that Jacob had come to rely on Judah. And I think we understand that reliability. Is a very underestimated quality.
It really is, you know, reliability tends to lead to stability. And stability, the more secure we are, the more stable we are, the more at peace we tend to be. Do you see the connection? So having reliable people in our lives, people that we can depend on tends to drop our anxiety levels. It helps our overall wellbeing when we are surrounded
with unreliability, we tend to find ourselves far more disturbed. And I think that sounds obvious, but it’s a reminder of some things, isn’t it? That you and I need to be really grateful for the people in our lives that we have, have come to view as reliable, dependable, uh, people who, when they say they will do something, they do it. When they,
you know, say they will be at a place at a certain time, they are. That there’s a dependability that really allows for us to have an island of security in a sea of change and insecurity. Right? And I think that begs another question, doesn’t it? It does. Are we reliable? How are we in our relationships?
Can people, loved ones, can people, especially people we love count on us? Are we trustworthy? You know, do some of us have a tendency to show up to places late? Do we sometimes bail when we say we are going to do something or have we established a reputation with people who are especially closest to us, but also at work
that can be depended on, counted on? That honor deadlines, and, um, don’t need to be, uh, you know, pushed, but we’ve got our own internal, you know, kind of drive to, you know, we manage ourselves. I’ve always talked about this, that the first person we ever lead is ourselves. And, uh, I was reminded of a wonderful verse that talks about
this in first Corinthians four, two, it says, moreover, it is required of stewards, look at this, that they be found faithful. This is from the ESV. So faithfulness, you know, is a key thing. It really is. Uh, any manager, anyone who’s been given something to oversee anyone who’s been entrusted, the key quality is faithfulness. It’s essential for a manager
to be trustworthy. I remember, uh, a book, uh, that I read called “The Speed of Trust,” by Stephen MR covey, and I, and I’m not talking about Stephen Covey who wrote the classic, uh, a book I just loved called, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. But I’m talking about his son, Steve MR Covey. And, uh, the book he wrote, “The Speed of Trust” really explores the multi-faith multiplying effect that trust has in business and in life.
I mean, he, he really digs into this concept. You know, what he, what Covey points out is that much of the dysfunction and unhappiness we experience, for example, in the workplace is due to low trust. I mean, he makes the case that low trust, hampers and hinders. But high trust, streamlines and allows for, uh, initiative to be seized.
And in that sense, when we have trust, relational trust, whether it’s in work or home life, but specifically as Covey was getting into it, he -it becomes an incredible timesaver. Right? The reason that trust is huge is because little energy is, a, lost, trying to double check and protect, right? We don’t want to be taken advantage of.
We don’t want to be misunderstood. So when there’s a high degree of trust, it’s easy to communicate. There are no, no need. There is a well, there’s less of a need to qualify, communication. There are ways of, you know, working with one another that have been established with a trust base. That means that I don’t have to waste my energy
wondering if well, are you trying to manipulate me here? I think there’s, there’s this safety. Trust brings safety. And safe, when we feel safe in a relationship, it allows us to work without having to have this other thing running at a parallel, well, you know, kind of track where we’re also trying to make sure that we’re not getting taken advantage of,
um, you know, we don’t want to be naive. At the same time, we want to assume the best. So you’ve got all these other factors that are involved when you don’t have an established pattern of relational trust. But when we have relational trust, wow, we have the capacity to move quickly. Uh, we’re not wasting energy on trying to double-check if a person is
w- has a different motive. We can, we can move together. And there’s the ability to have what actually is referred to in the other book, the seven habits book, as synergy. And synergistic relationships are powerful because they per, they allow us to go far beyond what we could ever do on our own. If two people working on their own,
when they work in synergy, it creates a third alternative that has a much higher ceiling. And if it was just the two of us working on our own separately and then adding up what we’ve accomplished, synergistic relationships have the ability to take off. Synergistic relay, relationships are absolutely dependent on trust.
I was, um, I wanted to share with you something he wrote, uh, this is, uh, Stephen, Mr. Covey wrote in, “The Speed of Trust.” He called it the one thing that changes everything. But look at this, look at what he writes here and I just want us to sit with it. Low trust causes friction, wherever it is caused by unethical behavior, whether it is caused by unethical behavior or by ethical, but incompetent behavior, because even good intentions can never take place of bad judgment.
That’s true, but low trust is the greatest cost in life and in organizations, including families. Low trust, look at this, creates hidden agendas, politics, interpersonal conflict, interdepartmental rivalries, win- lose thinking defensive and protective communication, all of which reduce the speed of trust.
Low trust slows everything, every decision, every communication, and every relationship. Think about that because he goes on to say that trust is equal parts, character, and competence. You can look at any leadership failure. And it always is always a failure of one or the other. Think about that he’s of the character or the competence.
And then he says this in a high trust relationship, you can say the wrong thing and people will still get your meaning. In a low trust relationship, you can be very measured, even precise, and they still misinterpret you. I said all that because one of the things that stands out in the Genesis account is that Jacob had come to trust Judah.
And that is no small thing. It’s also, I might add one of the most outstanding qualities that Joseph possessed. So it shows up now in the life of Ju- Judah, but before, when we studied the life of Joseph in 2020 in the early part of 2021, we were using Joseph’s life as a way of staying, you know, resilient.
And one of the things that emerges, um, has a just outstanding quality of Joseph, as some of you may recall, is that he was trustworthy. So trustworthy, even to his own hurt, because if we drill down and, and besides the fact that Joseph was also an excellent worker. So if you want to just use Joseph as a case study for workplace, uh, and what, what it looks like to have a quality worker or a manager you Jo- seph models, character, and competence. He is an outstanding blend of both a person with a character that is aligned with the things of God.
So it’s not dependent on the, the cultural climate at the same time, he also has a, a, you know, competency, a skillset that he brings to the table that can’t be, you know, overlooked even by his critics. And I think that if we drill down, we will see that a big part of even, even the excellence of Joseph’s work,
uh, we would come to understand that it was because ah, Joseph saw himself as really someone who wasn’t really working for the people who had authority over him. He was really working for God or under God. That, that was a big part of the secret of his success. We can put it that way. He, he wasn’t working for a man or a woman or a corporation.
He was, he was working for the Lord. He, wherever he was, he worked for the Lord. Whether, it was for his father, Jacob or in the house of Potiphar, as a as a slave really a high level slave, but a slave nonetheless, or whether it was in prison, helping the warden or whether it was ultimately in the court of Pharaoh as the one second, only to the great Pharaoh of Egypt.
Joseph was the same man and that is remarkable. And of course that connects to another new Testament, uh, exhortation. This one is in Colossians three. It says, in verse 23, work willingly at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward and that the Master you are serving, look at this, is Christ.
This is why I believe, that Christians, yes, I’m talking about true followers of the way of Jesus are to be some of the best workers in the world. Like we should be. And I know to, it’s a pretty challenging, uh, climate right now in a lot of workplace environments. And you always got to watch your back it seems, and there’s a lot of pressure to
just go along with the flow and to say things the way everybody wants them said, and I get all that. I’m not dismissing it, but over time, people, people will notice character and trustworthiness and reliability. And if that flows out of our relationship with the Lord, it will, it will affect people. It will let your light so shine before men that they may see
Jesus said your good works and glorify your father who was in heaven, but let’s go back to Genesis 46. It says, and it would just pick back up. It says, then Joseph prepared his chariot and he went up to meet Israel, that’s Jacob, his father in Goshen. So we see this reunion moment and he presented himself to him.
We’re told, and he just fell on his neck and he wept on his neck, a good while. I mean, one of the things that comes up a lot is that Joseph was a man who, ah, he just, he, he wept a lot. He had, he, he had a lot of just emotional vulnerability. And that’s another character quality of this man. And, you know, he can’t help it.
He sees Jacob and he just, the tears flow, right? It must’ve been as he was making his way to see his father who he hadn’t seen for over two decades. It must’ve been a moment of in -comparable anticipation, right? For you, I don’t even, I tried to imagine my mind’s eye Joseph on his chariot, uh, thinking in his mind.
Cause I, you know, I know when I’ve anticipated reunions and I think Joseph has just, you know, as he’s racing through the Egyptian sands, I wonder what is racing through his mind? And he, I personally feel as the, the Sahara heat is, is, you know, the desert heat is flowing at him. Tears are falling. And they’re streaming down his face that dust covered face, but for, you know, and then finally, when he sees the age of his father, he can’t contain himself, he can’t contain himself, himself.
You know, he his tears overcome him the, the great Egypt -tian Zeph -nath- paaneah throws himself upon his father, embracing him and crying for a long time. And everybody must’ve watched it. Joseph Joseph, my son, Jacob says, he too is overcome. Look what he says, Israel, verse 30 said to Joseph, now let me die. I’ve seen your face.
Oh my son. And I know you are still alive, right? This beautiful moment. And then not soon after that, Joseph, after they’ve collected themselves. Loved on each other. He pauses to give his family some shrewd and prudent advice in fact. He, he meticulously prepares them for an interview that he has arranged with Pharaoh.
Remember, it’s like the best way to describe it’s like being invited into the oval office and Joseph. Or maybe you do the core of the queen. Joseph wants them to understand what he is going to do, and he wants them to respond to Pharaoh. I mean, this is one more time. We see it. Joseph is a man who lived for God, trusted God, any yet does not neglect the practical, pragmatic aspects of relational, you know, connectivity.
And, uh, he, he has a wisdom for living that is also a part of who he is. I think he’s a tremendous pattern. He’s both trusting the Lord and at the same time being as precise as he can be to be attentive to the details. He will do his part. It’s not about, oh, God will take care of it. God will take care of it. Yes.
Yes, God did take care of it. And he believed that and he had a reason to believe that. And at the same time, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t going to be attentive to the things that were directly his responsibility and to properly assess the environment and be as shrewd as possible within it. So look what it says in verse 31, Joseph said to his brothers, into his father’s household, I will go up and I will tell Pharaoh, and I will say to him, this is what I’m going to tell him.
My brothers and my father’s household who were in the land of Canaan, Canaan have come to me and the men, these men, my family, they are shepherds. Now they have been keepers of livestock and, you know, they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have. So Joseph is kind of letting he’s telling him, I’m going to tell this to.
Pharaoh, and then he, I’m going to mention to him that you are really good with animals and sheep, in particular. And, and when Pharaoh calls you and says, well, what is your occupation? You, you, this is why I want you to say. This is something that you guys wouldn’t be aware of, but I am, because I understand, just, you just need to trust me here.
You shall say, verse 34. Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth, even until now, we’re an agricultural people both we and our fathers in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians. So one is in the part of the tribe, you know, Jacob’s clan Joseph’s family.
Part of what they did was they, they re- they raised sheep as well. And that was viewed as a very unclean occupation for the Egyptian. It was at best something that they wanted accommodate it, if they were to do it at a distance. And that’s exactly what Joseph wanted for them as well. He wanted, he wanted his family to have space and freedom to grow as a people distinct from dominant Egypt -tian culture.
That’s just what he wanted. And he th- the culture that, by the way, he had been forced to adapt to and had, right? And knew so well, it was now his. world. But he wanted his family to be able to have the space they needed. And so, you know, he’s going to use the fact that they need this land because there are shepherds and it’s probably good for them to be a little bit away from, you know, where a lot of other people are,
and he was just going to try to use everything too, that he pos- possibly could in its most positive way to create, uh, uh, a place for them to be that would be relatively unmolested from the, the, the cultural norm. So there was both a practical side of this and a prudent side of this Genesis 47. It says this:
so Joseph went in and he told Pharaoh, my father and my brothers with their flocks and herds and all that they possess have come from the land of Canaan. And they are now in the land of Goshen. They’ve arrived. My families arrived. And from among his brothers, he took five men, so five of the brothers and he presented them to Pharaoh. Who were the five?
We don’t know. Pharaoh said to his brothers. So what is your occupation? Joseph? Remember he had told them this is what’s going to happen. And they said Pharaoh to Pharaoh. Uh, your sh your servants. Uh, are shepherds, as our fathers were, um, we, we come from, uh, uh, people along the line of shepherds and they said to Pharaoh, we have come to, to sojourn in the land for, there is no pasture as you know, the famine is
so severe, there was no pasture for your servants flocks in the land of Canaan. And now please, if, if it would be, uh, let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen. That would be a hard, most humble request. And then Pharaoh said to Joseph, your father and your brothers have come to the land of Egypt. I tell you now is before you settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land.
Let them settle in the land of Goshen. Why not? And if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my life, stop it stock as well. We get the impression that Pharaoh, after watching Joseph operate wonders, if genius runs in the family after all he’s wise, Joseph, you know, literally run his business
so well, he thinks, well, maybe they’ve got a knack for it. So, in addition to the land and free rent. If you want it, you’ve got a job. Oh wow. You want to talk about an amazing development. And then it says verse seven, Joseph brought in Jacob, his father and stood before him and, and before Pharaoh and Jacob, blessed Pharaoh.
I love this. Can you imagine this moment? Try, you guys. As Joseph goes and gets Jacob and slowly leads his. Age -ed father into the court. Everybody’s watching all the court, -tesans, uh, pharaohs, entourage, the brothers, uh, you know, Jacob’s sons, Joseph’s brothers. They’re all watching as the doors open and Jacob dressed like a, a nomadic shepherd, whoa, a prosperous one, but a nomad,
none the less, is being led in by Joseph who himself. Joseph is an Egyptian in his makeup and clothing, but he’s leading his father in and slowly. And then Jacob that we’re told, uh, leans on his staff. Right? And Pharaoh said to Jacob, how many ’cause probably took a little time to get Jacob in front of Pharaoh imagine Pharaoh sitting?
And Pharaoh said to Jacob, how many are the days of the years of your life? And Jacob said to Pharaoh, the days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Yes. And few and evil have been the days of the years of my life. That is. That’s a way of saying, and these years have not been pain-free years and they have not attained the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their so-.
So -journing in Jacob, Jacob is saying essentially, I, I have not, I have not lived as long as my father’s before me, though, I have lived a long life. And then something a bit unexpected, says in verse 10 and we’ll leave it here. Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And he went out from the presence of Pharaoh. I don’t think, I mean, that was precious and unanticipated.
It wasn’t arranged, I mean Jacob blesses Pharaoh. I love that. I love that. He Pharaoh is the most powerful man in the world or the known world at that time. And it is Jacob with a, a small clan of nomadic shepherds comes in, to some degree, dependent on the largest of Pharaoh in Egypt. And yet it is he who blesses Pharaoh.
And, you know, I think probably most likely Joseph and maybe even some of the, the officials were caught off guard by the, the, the, the seeming dis -reguard for decorum, because he didn’t bless the, almost the demigod. You don’t, you don’t, you don’t bless Phar-. I mean, Pharaoh is obeyed, not blessed. Right. But, but for Jacob, uh, you know, Pharaoh’s kindness was worthy of a blessing.
Pharaoh seem to be fine with it. He was fine being prayed, prayed for and blessed. And as Joseph witnessed the remarkable moment, he too must have felt so blessed. Hey, you guys, I want to say something. Yes, I do. It’s okay to be blessed. It’s okay to be blessed. It’s okay to be happy with life. It’s okay to say right now life
is good. It’s okay to have a good season. We got enough, like Jacob said, we have enough days filled with pain and enough tough seasons. When we get the, we get the ones that are good. Let’s, let’s rejoice in them. Right? That’s rejoice in them, you know? So much of what we talk about has to do with how we negotiate the difficult and hard places of life,
what I call the thorns and thistles, the products of our sin impacted world that we all have to deal with and are dealing with on a regular daily basis. Uh, but I think it’s true. What has been said, you and I, if we know Jesus and have him in our lives, and if you haven’t had a chance to welcome him in to say, Lord, I want you to be my Lord and my Savior.
And let us know, and we’ll pray with you and help you get started. But it has been said that those who follow Jesus are Easter people living in a Good Friday world. We’re Easter people living in a Good Friday world. Good Friday was the place where Jesus was crucified. That’s the pain, and this is the brokenness of this life, but Easter was the time of resurrection,
and hope and possibility and you and I, part of Easter people living in a Good Friday world, um, you know, there are going to be those seasons of newness where we just, just, you know, we just need to be thankful and grateful and let joy fill us, you know, sunrises when the sky is a wash with the goodness of God and, and the trees clap their hands with joy.
You know, let those times of, of, of sunshine, fill us, ah, smile on our face, extra hop in our step. Why not? Let’s enjoy the sunshine. You know, I know we talk a lot about managing the rain, but also want to enjoy the sunshine and be okay with happy times and enjoy the special people in our lives. Determined in our heart to be grateful for reunions and blessings and laughter and love and all the blessings of God that we don’t deserve.
You know, we often sit with the pain that we, and the disappointment we think we don’t deserve. Well, how about the gifts and the goodness we don’t deserve, but yet we’re given I’m grateful for. Yeah, I am. I want you to be grateful too. And the last thing I would say about that, and it’s something that we opened with, but, you know, we opened this teaching this message with, but let’s endeavor to be.
And I just put this up one more time. Let’s endeavor to be a people of trust, seeking to build high trust relationships by seeking to be, by God’s strength, a high trust people. Alright. I want to be a high trust person. I mean, that’s what God is to me. I trust him. That’s what the Lord is for you. That’s what He wants us to be for others.
Lord, help us to be that. Ya, help us to be that. We’re so blessed; we are. And you know, we’re gonna share a song that talks about that. I’ve got another thought to share on the backside. I do want to remind everybody, this is the time I get to do it, to all my friends and family online. Don’t forget. Time of giving, opportunity to give, at least, to me, to make it known the ways in which you can give. And
so many of you, of you, have done, so beautifully, you’ve evidenced your love for the Lord and this, this church in real, tangible ways in your tithes and offerings. Remember, you can give directly, send it in to our offices, if you want to do it the traditional way. You can give online, you can give on the app which is what I do, but like, I always say let’s first give him our heart, but right now let’s enjoy this moment.
Even, even now let the joy of the Lord, fill us. Hello, sunshine. Goodbye rain here we go.