We have been living through some lean years. Do you remember the Old Testament story of Joseph
interpreting Pharaoh’s dream about the seven “fat and sleek” cows followed by seven “lean, ugly” cows
(Genesis 41)? God granted Joseph discernment, and he told Pharaoh that there would be seven years of abundant harvests followed by seven years of famine. Joseph advised the people of Egypt to store up food during the good years so they would have enough to get through the lean years.
Our lean years have featured a virus, social unrest and financial instability. These global problems have
resulted in countless personal trials and hardships. Had we known several years ago that this season was coming, we might have prepared somehow. Maybe we would have expanded hospital capacities. Maybe we would have voted differently or chosen other ways of expressing our opinions. Maybe we would have saved more and spent less.
As far as I know, God didn’t give our national leaders a prophetic dream about the lean years ahead,
but even without timely warning, we should be wise enough to follow Joseph’s counsel. During good days, we should store up some of God’s blessings. During tough days, we should rely on the strength God provides.
These lessons aren’t just about social and financial issues. They also apply to our spiritual practices.
We go through seasons of closeness to God, times when we feel His presence and hear His voice, days when worship and prayer seem to flow from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We also go through seasons of spiritual dryness when it feels like God is far away and His voice is too small to hear.
When everything is good, we may not want to admit that harder, leaner days could come, but we know
from experience that the ebbs and flows of life affect our hearts. Every follower of Jesus walks through a spiritual valley at some point.
Aware of that truth, we should learn to store up faith and strength for those hard days. When you walk
on the spiritual heights feeling close to the Lord, soak in as much as you can of His presence, word and wisdom.
Fill your heart with the promises and truth of God so you will have plenty in reserve for the days when
you struggle to hear His voice. The church should follow Joseph’s counsel as well. Just as we seek to be good stewards of God’s provision during times of financial stability, we should also shore up the foundation of our ministry while we have the strength. Worship joyfully. Study God’s word carefully. Build healthy relationships with one another.
Manage the church with integrity and wisdom. Love each other and the community around us in Jesus’ name. The stronger our ministry is during fruitful seasons, the better we will be able to withstand moments of uncertainty or decline.
I am grateful that Broadway has sustained fruitful ministry during these lean years, which is evidence
of God’s gracious hand and the strong heritage of faith build in decades past. We will survive the pandemic, inflation and whatever else comes our way, because our foundation has been built on the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s word.
May that continue to be true for our church and for each of our lives. And may we trust in God’s blessing
and protection, knowing that He is faithful today, tomorrow and for eternity