What I’m Thinking: Willing and Unwilling


Joseph went to Egypt unwillingly: kidnaped and sold by his brothers, dragged off by the passing traders. Yet in his story, he became the one to rescue his family from starvation. In contrast, Peter leaped willingly, even eagerly, out of the boat to join Jesus walking on the water. It didn’t go so well for him.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the willing and the unwilling this week, because we find the willing and the unwilling in our Biblical stories for this coming Sunday.

The first is in the 37th chapter of Genesis, where we’ve shifted generations. We’ve gone from Jacob to the stories about his children. And it’s not a great story. Or at least it’s not a happy one.

Joseph, the next-to-youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob, annoys his brothers enough that they decide first to kill him – and then they change their mind about that one; that’s not such a great idea – but they do end up selling him as a slave so that he ends up being carried away from home and off to Egypt. 

Clearly not someone who went willingly, nor should he have.

The other is the story in the 14th chapter of Matthew about Jesus walking on the water, although I have in mind Peter. Because Peter says, “Hey! Call me out!” and Jesus does. Peter hops upon the water, but he doesn’t have quite the same success that Jesus did, and he begins to sink.

The unwilling one, over the long story of Genesis, becomes the leader of the family and the one who is instrumental in saving the household, whereas the one who was willing, well he hops out and promptly begins to sink.

Now, that might just be the difference between the long story of Genesis and that little shorter bit of Jesus’ relationship to Peter that we find in Matthew. But it does make me wonder just how often we confuse willingness with effectiveness and how often we assume that someone who is unwilling is not going to make a difference.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’d love to know what you’re thinking. Please leave me your ideas in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , | Posted on August 6, 2017

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