“You’re going to need me before I need you.” Yet another pearl of wisdom from my Madea. It was most often used as the response when one of her children or grandchildren wouldn’t do something she’d asked of them. Even, and maybe especially, when it was within their power to do so. Like when she asked someone to fix the cornbread for dinner but it wasn’t their night to fix cornbread.
It was a way of reminding us of the blessings she had provided for us in the past. Breakfast EVERY morning and dinner EVERY evening. A place to go and a comforting embrace when we were sick in body or spirit. She was the source of many of my blessings!
Much like Joseph.
Genesis 39:5 From the time he (Potiphar) put him (Joseph) in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.
Blessings on everything.
And since Potiphar’s wife lives in his house, she could bask in the luxury just because she was married to him. But then she got greedy. She wanted not only the benefits of the blessing, but the source of the blessings as well.
She became angry and spiteful when Joseph turned down her repeated requests to sleep with her. She lied to her husband saying Joseph raped her and landed Joseph in jail. Today her actions could be considered sexual harassment. Joseph could have sued to get his job back or gotten a settlement for damage to his reputation. But I digress.
Sometimes, when life is moving along just right and everything is all hunky dory, we forget where our blessings come from.
And we believe they will just keep on coming because we deserve to be blessed. If we have had a certain amount of success, financial or otherwise, it surely means we are superior humans and no one would dare deny us what we want. Certainly not “the help.”
But we don’t always know where our help comes from.
In my first job out of college, I worked for a bank in their training program. At the end of the program, everyone but me was selected to go work in the departments they had chosen. Everyone. Except me. The place I wanted to work didn’t appear to want me.
As God would have it, the Chairman of the Board of that bank knew my granddaddy. Knew him because he was “the help”. Butler, driver, handyman, babysitter, whatever was needed. And because of the kind of man my grandfather was, the Chairman met with me, a trainee, and helped me jumpstart my career.
Thank the Lord the experience humbled me enough to temper my arrogance about where my help came from. If Potiphar’s wife had known that her blessings came to her from God through Joseph, surely she would have made a different choice.
Because our God is a good, loving Father, odds are he would never say that we’ll need him before he needs us. Mainly because he is God and doesn’t need us to help him. But also because he gives us the choice to be a part of His grand design to serve and care for His creation.
However, because a word to the wise is sufficient, just know that you will need Him before He needs you!
Read more on Mrs. Potiphar in our “Learning from Their Examples” series.