Summary: Trust God in the test, because God gives His people the best. He gives us things that last, while the world can only give us things that pass.
A man named Fred inherited a huge land grant, but the will provided that he could choose land in either Chile or Brazil. He chose Brazil. Unhappily, if he had chosen Chile, he would have received his inheritance in land on which they had recently discovered uranium, gold and silver. But he chose Brazil.
When he arrived in Brazil he had to choose between receiving his inheritance in a coffee plantation or land with Brazil nut trees. He chose the nut trees, and immediately the bottom fell out of the nut market, but coffee futures went up two dollars a pound. The government took control of the nut farm for back taxes, and Fred was left destitute.
Fred pawned his Rolex watch for the money he needed to fly either to New York or Boston. He chose Boston. When the plane for New York taxied up, he noticed it was a brand new super Concorde with red carpets. After several hours delay, the plane for Boston arrived. It was a 1928 twin engine plane held together with bailing wire, and it was filled with cigar smokers and unattended crying babies.
Over the mountains one of the engines fell off, and Fred, frightened by his earlier bad choices and fearing for his life, asked for two parachutes. He jumped. As he fell through the air, he tried to make up his mind which ripcord to pull. He pulled the cord on the left, but nothing happened. He pulled the cord on his right, but it broke.
In desperation the poor fellow cried out, “St. Francis, save me!” A great hand from heaven reached down, seized him by the wrist, and left him dangling in mid-air. Then a gentle but inquisitive voice asked, “St. Francis, Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi?” (Dick Meyer, "An Anchor in a Sea of Change," Faith@Work, Spring 2000, p.23; www.PreachingToday.com)
Life is full of choices, some of which look better than others; but looks can be deceiving. That’s especially true when it comes to the choice of serving Christ or the ways of this world.
Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24, ESV).
You have to make a choice, but which is the right choice: serving God or money? One looks better than the other, but is it the right choice? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 46, Genesis 46, where those two choices stand in stark contrast to one another as God’s people come to live in Egypt under Joseph’s rule.
Genesis 46:31-34 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.” (ESV)
The people of this world often despise the people of God.
Genesis 47:1-4 So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.” And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” (ESV)
They only want to “sojourn in the land.” That is, they only want to dwell as guests or strangers in Egypt. You see, this earth is not home for the people of God. We’re only here as guests or strangers for a little while.
Genesis 47:5-9 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.” Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” (ESV)