“15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Genesis 41:15-16
This morning I was reading in Genesis 41 when I stumbled on a quick phrase from Joseph that sucker-punched me right in my core. At this point in the Biblical narrative, Joseph had been sold by his brothers to slave-traders and eventually sold to the Egyptians. Through an unfortunate turn of events, Joseph ended up in prison and had a knack for interpreting dreams. His gift eventually led to him helping out a cup-bearer by interpreting his dream. 2 years later, this cup-bearer who was once in prison, would point to Joseph as the man to talk to about interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph was pulled from prison and put before the ruler of Egypt. The Pharaoh made no mention of God or of how Joseph got this talent. He merely told Joseph that he heard he had the gift of interpreting dreams.
Joseph had two options here. Before the ruler of Egypt he could take credit for the gift, exalt himself, and in doing so hope to drag himself out of prison by using his gift as leverage. OR he could give credit where credit is due and make sure the Pharaoh knows its not his own power that interprets dreams but God’s great gift. He had a choice, elevate himself or elevate the Lord. In verse 16, Joseph said 5 simple words, “it is not in me.” He recognized that it was by God’s grace that he had the gift and by God’s grace that he was able to use it and as such God gets the glory.
In John 3:30, John states that, “He (God) must increase, but I (John) must decrease.” This is a phrase I have tried hard to remember when I train and compete. Regardless of the outcome, I have to remember as Joseph did that any gifts I have or talents I get to express are a DIRECT result of God’s grace in my life. He gave the ability, the time, and the desire to develop my gifts and yes I have to be diligent to develop them through training, hardwork, and consistency. However, they are God’s gifts to give and God’s gifts to take away.
As athletes we have to remember the source for our success. It’s not our own personal effort. It’s God’s grace to us. It makes no sense for us to try and take credit for our own success when in fact our success has always been dependent on the gifts and graciousness of God. I remember watching Rich Froning talk to the cameras after winning the Games last year. He was asked how he continues to win each year and continues to find himself at the top. He could have pointed to his training, hardwork, or training partners and all would have been valid answers. However, he pointed the gifts given to him by God that he is “trying his hardest to use for God’s glory.”
Remember the source for your talent and gifts. God gives those things and their His to be glorified for.