July 1 | Bible in a Year: Job 20-21; Acts 10:24-48
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
READ GENESIS 37:2–4, 17–24
My husband’s brother lives about 1,200 miles away in the mountains of Colorado. Despite the distance, Gerrits has always been a beloved family member because of his great sense of humor and kind heart. As long as I can remember, however, his siblings have good-naturedly joked about his favored status in their mother’s eyes. Several years ago, they even presented him with a T-shirt sporting the words, “I’m Mom’s Favorite.” While we all enjoyed the silliness of our siblings, true favoritism is no joking matter.
In Genesis 37, we read about Jacob who gave his son Joseph an ornate coat—an indication to his other children that Joseph was special (v. 3). Without a hint of subtlety, the coat’s message shouted: “Joseph is my favorite son.”
Displaying favoritism can be crippling in a family. Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, had favored him over her son Esau, leading to conflict between the two brothers (25:28). The dysfunction was perpetuated when Jacob favored his wife Rachel (Joseph’s mother) over his wife Leah, creating discord and heartache (29:30-31). No doubt this pattern was the unhealthy basis for Joseph’s brothers to despise their younger brother, even plotting his murder (37:18).
When it comes to our relationships, we may sometimes find it tricky to be objective. But our goal must be to treat everyone without favoritism and to love every person in our life as our Father loves us (John 13:34).
By Cindy Hess Kasper
REFLECT & PRAY
Loving God, as I interact with others help me to avoid showing unhealthy preferences. Help me to see others as You do and to treat everyone fairly and without favoritism.
When have you struggled with showing favoritism? How is God helping you to treat everyone equally?
When Joseph’s story began, he was just seventeen years old (Genesis 37:2), and when he entered into Pharaoh’s service he was thirty (41:46). During the thirteen intervening years, he spent perhaps ten or so in slavery (first as a laborer and then as a household manager) before spending another two to three in prison. Later, following seven years of plenty (41:53), there are two of famine (45:6) before Joseph’s brothers arrive and they reconcile. Imagine—twenty-two years from slavery to reconciliation! Bill Crowder