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How Are You Doing?

How Are You Doing?

So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” Genesis 40:7

I speak just enough Spanish to get myself in over my head, so, when I see our Spanish speaking interpreters in clinic, we always exchange pleasantries. Como Esta? (How are you?) To this, there is only one reply. Bien Gracias. Y Tu? (I’m fine, thank you. And you?) This interaction never varies – It’s always the same exchange. So, when I walk into work in the morning and ask (in English) a coworker – How are you? – I expect a similar, brief response. When he or she launches into an explanation of how rotten things are actually going in life, I’m a little surprised. I’m sorry. I was just asking to be polite. I don’t really want to know about your entire life. Rude. I know. It’s just that I’m almost always in a hurry at work and it takes a lot of time and effort to truly stop and care for someone else.

As Christians though, we’re commanded to love and care for those around us. This is the lesson from today’s passage, in which Joseph showed love, compassion, and kindness to those in his life. Enslaved and imprisoned, Joseph met the Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, who’d also been incarcerated for some offense. One night, the cupbearer and the baker both had unusual dreams which seemed to mean something, but they didn’t know what. The next day, they both wore troubled expressions on their faces. Joseph noticed and inquired – What’s wrong. How can I help? God provided Joseph with the interpretations of the dreams, thus solving their problem.

It may not always be this neat and tidy, but this is the role we’re to play in the lives of those around us. If we open our eyes and get out of our own heads, we will see those who’re hurting. They’re all around us. How are you? Really. I want to know. How can I help? Often, we can’t just fix things, but simply caring and listening can be profoundly therapeutic. Other times – and this may be the really hard part – we will be asked to get involved, helping someone out with our time or our money (gasp!). The problem for most of us is that, like me in clinic, we’re just so self-absorbed and/or busy. It takes a lot of time and effort to care for someone else. As followers of Christ though, this isn’t an option, but rather a way of life that is expected of us. You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). How are you doing? I really want to know.

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