Lead and Love
By Pastor Sam Adeyemi
We have established that love gives us the capacity to recognize the value of other people and we demonstrate that recognition through giving and forgiving. God so recognized the value in us that He gave His only begotten Son. We’ve also established that no entity can erode the intrinsic value that God has placed in every human being. The devil also works to distort the perception of our value of others. Here we have evidence in the Bible where Joseph’s brother did not recognize the value in their brother. Instead of recognizing and celebrating that value, Joseph’s brothers ended up discussing how to kill him. One thing most puzzling is, how the mind of a human being works to the point of deciding to take another person’s life. It must be satanic because the implication is that the person has come to a point of seeing no value in the other person. To kill someone is to demonstrate zero value for the person’s life; Joseph’s brothers had come to that point until the eldest brother intervened that he was their blood brother. Ultimately, they sold their brother into slavery for 20 pieces of silver which by inference is lesser than 30 pieces of silver; which was the apparent standard price for selling a slave which meant, they gave a thirty-three per cent discount on the sale of their brother; showing a total lack of recognition of value possibly because ten of them were older than him.
One of the things the devil leverages to obscure our view of value is our position. Being ahead of someone in age or position tends to seduce us to not recognize their value and this is pronounced to varying degrees around the world depending on the culture. So for instance, being the fifth born makes one of lesser value than the firstborn. If we don’t carefully look at the culture, we’ll find ourselves flowing with the culture that despises people’s value. Back then in high school, for instance, being a Form 1 student made the student the most inferior student to all the other students up to Form 5. It was an oppressive culture that fits into the subconscious of those who have been a part of such cultures unawares and gradually we lose the capacity for empathy and recognizing the value of other people. Hence, being ahead of someone else automatically meant, I have more value than the other person. This is where Joseph’s brothers lost it; the fact that he was the eleventh son did not mean Joseph was inferior to them but the birth order just blinded them to this. Similarly, there are cultures that don’t value women but for Christians being male or female is not paramount rather; we are joint heirs with Christ. Also, there are cultures where children have no value and growing up from childhood in such culture makes you as an adult think you are of more value than a child.
The encouragement for us today is we should not be like Joseph’s brothers, who lacked the capacity to recognize the value in their brother. Gratefully, Joseph wasn’t like them because the order changed and he now had a higher position than them and if he had been like them, not seeing value in them, he would have killed them. Even they were expecting to die but Joseph was not like them. He had the capacity for love and he forgave them. Hence, we should not be short-sighted; birth order or organizational order is not necessarily destiny order. If you ever have the opportunity to be ahead of someone you have to be able to do as Jesus did; He could confidently claim that He loved His disciples. This translates to Him saying I recognize the value in you guys. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that Jesus didn’t have a perfect team; He had Peter who denied Him, Judas who was a thief and equally betrayed Him; Thomas the doubter, who has to see before believing; James and John the brothers who lobbied for power. Amazingly, Jesus factored in all their weaknesses and still loved them.
Hence, husband love your wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. See value in your wife. Love your children knowing that they are worth all the investment in the world. Landlord, love your tenants and treat them well. If you are a leader in government, love your citizens and recognize the value in them; being in the leadership position is no proof that you have more value than the citizenry.
Finally, show love to people by praying for them; pray for your husband, wife, children, tenant, landlord, boss, subordinate, student, teacher and so on; Luke 22:31-32 and Ephesians 1:15-18 set examples for us.