Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Black Sheep of the Family (10/03/13)
TITLE: Are you a 'black sheep' Joseph?
By P. J. Baker
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In the olden days before computers, cars and supermarkets, many people kept animals to provide them with food. Sheep were popular because the milk, meat and wool could be used by the family and sold at market.
Now, as you know, usually sheep have white woolly fleeces. But occasionally, something strange happened: two white sheep had a black lamb! This little black sheep really stood out in a field of white sheep.
Farmers didn’t like black sheep as much as white sheep. This was possibly because black wool was worth less at market as it couldn’t be dyed. The phrase ‘black sheep’ came to mean somebody who stands out from the group, and is unpopular.
A Coloured Coat (Genesis 37)
One ‘black sheep’ in the Bible was Joseph, son of Jacob. Joseph was different from all his brothers and he had a special talent of understanding dreams. Jacob loved him more than he loved his other sons, so he gave Joseph a beautiful , colourful wool coat. This made Joseph stand out among the boring, dull coats of his eleven brothers! And it made his brothers jealous.
‘Why does he get such an amazing coloured coat?’
‘He thinks he’s better than us!’
‘We’ll show him!’
His brothers were so jealous of Joseph that they ripped up his coat and sold him to some passing. Poor Joseph!
Joseph was taken to a different country, sold as a slave then put in jail for something he didn’t do. He was one unlucky black sheep!
But God had a good plan for his life. Joseph was rescued from jail when he helped the king understand his dream. He became a leader in this country, and later forgave and helped his brothers by giving them food in a time of famine.
Are you a ‘black sheep’ Joseph or his ‘white sheep’ brother?
Imagine you are in the story of Joseph. Who can you see yourself as?
You could feel like the ‘black sheep’ Joseph: the only one out of your brothers and sisters who has a certain talent, or the one that your mom or dad seem to love the best. Perhaps your brothers and sisters are mean to you because they are jealous.
If so, remember:
* God loves you and has made you the way you are for a reason. Joseph understood dreams and it got him out of jail!
* Others might be jealous because of your talent and the attention it gets you, and they can be mean to you. God wants us to forgive those who are mean to us. Joseph was treated awfully by his brothers but later forgave them.
* God has a good plan for your life! Even if you feel like you’re in jail, maybe God is preparing a place for you in the palace. Joseph never gave up hope that God would make his life better.
You could feel like one of Joseph’s brothers: you are ignored while your brother or sister gets all the attention while you feel unimportant and unloved. Perhaps you are jealous of your brother or sister who is smarter, better at sport or seems more talented then you.
If so, remember:
* God loves you and has made you the way you are for a reason. He has given everyone talents, maybe you and others simply haven’t noticed what your talent is yet. When you use your talent, you can be celebrated too!
* You might be jealous of another because of their talent and the attention it gets them. Try to remember that God loves you just as much as them, and try not to be mean to them. Like Joseph’s brothers, you may need their help one day!
* God has a good plan for your life! Even if it seems like your life is dull, and someone else’s life seems exciting, you never know what God has in store for you next.
Although everyone may feel like a ‘black sheep’ at some point in their lives, the truth is we have all been adopted into God’s family!
Be baa-baa blessed!
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