It's Spring Break for the tall man I live with, and he has so many projects in his head I told him last night this break will have to balloon to 20 days in order for him to do them all. He's a doer--not a contemplative like me. We're kind of like Joseph and Mary, I think. Mary stored all those things up in her heart; she treasured them, thought about them. And we talk endlessly about her faith, trust and obedience. But what of Joseph's? This carpenter was visited by angels, not once, but three times, and each time, no matter how odd or out of his expected course, he got up, and obeyed. "Take this pregnant girl to be your wife! What is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." 'Right, the Messiah. OK, I'll do it,' he says, putting on his sandals. "Get them out of Bethlehem--all the way to Egypt!" 'Sure thing,' he says, waking a sleeping newborn and piling him with Mary onto a donkey. "Go home now!" 'Glad to,' he smiles, packing up a household after two settled years, to finally go home. And he hops right up out of his warm bed, even in the middle of the night and is off.
This amazing man raised God's son as his own--was so trusted by God as a man--as a father--that he raised the only begotten Son. Can you imagine? Joseph is absent after the temple stoy, but he helped form Jesus. He gave him feet to stand on this earth. And he obeyed instantly, before he knew, when the world was pointing fingers, when it cost. It cost him everything--reputation (for a while at least), his home, his job, his country for a season. And...if it's true that he died while Jesus was young, he never even saw Jesus preach or heal or do a public miracle. Yet still he obeyed.
We're pansies about obedience. We think we have it rough when God asks us to give up something for Lent, or to go on a mission trip, or to pray more, or whatever it is. We know nothing. But Joseph, now there's obedience, when it was hardest.
But he had something easy too. Someone easy. He had Jesus with him. He was ALWAYS considering Jesus. Nothing in his life--from that first dream on--was about himself. Ever after, he lived considering Jesus first.
It's an obvious thing, but it's also why he's a perfect model of discipleship. If we can be Joseph, if we can live, paying attention to angels (and aren't they promised to us?) and considering Him, being His servant, getting up out of the warm, safe bed in our lives, to go where He needs to go, we're in good shape.
Do I wake up in the night when He speaks? Do I listen? Throw back the covers and put on my sandals and go?