What Have I Done with My Time?
Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain. Genesis 44:1-2
When my life fell apart due to my addiction back in 2014, I had to report to the state authorities who told me I couldn’t practice medicine for an indefinite period. If I had any hope of saving my career, I was told I had to get to treatment immediately, which I did. I was also told that I would eventually have to stand before the medical board, but that didn’t happen for another seven months. Why so long? I just wanted to get it over with.
I was allowed to go back to work before I met with the board, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. If they were going to revoke my medical license, why let me practice for a couple months first? I suspect that they were testing me, giving me some time to see what I would do. Would I work on my recovery? Or would I simply relapse? When I did eventually meet with the board, they wanted to know what I’d been doing. Had I been going to meetings? Was I sober? The time given to me was a test and their decision regarding my license, seemed to depend on what I’d done with my time. If I’d have relapsed, I would have been done practicing medicine.
In today’s passage, Joseph similarly tested his brothers. In the passage, his brothers returned to Egypt – with their youngest brother, Benjamin, this time – to buy more grain. They still didn’t recognize Joseph and as they prepared to return home, Joseph had his own silver cup hidden in Benjamin’s bag, subsequently accusing the brothers of trying to steal it. Benjamin was now their Father Jacob’s favorite, just as Joseph had once been. Joseph was testing his brothers to see if they’d changed or if they would simply hand Benjamin over as a slave, just as they’d once done to Joseph. Are you still the monsters who sold me into slavery? Have you changed over time?
This life God has given me is a test. What am I doing with it? Do I expend my time, money, and energy pursuing my own will? Or am I being a faithful steward of what God’s given me, serving him and loving my neighbors? One day I will answer for what I’ve done with my life. When that day comes, I’d like to look back and see that I didn’t live only for myself but that I used God’s gifts to serve him and to love those he’s put in my path.