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Making the most out of life

May 11, 2015 No Comment

by Paul Zabel

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall.” (Genesis 49: 22)

Rev. Paul Zabel

Rev. Paul Zabel

Chapter 49 in the Book of Genesis is often referred to as the “Blessing of Jacob.” And rightly so, for in this chapter of Scripture, Jacob blesses his sons before his death. We do not have enough space here to grasp the central thought in the blessing pronounced upon each of Jacob’s twelve sons. In this article I would like to call your attention to how mightily Jacob’s son, Joseph, was blessed by God—so much so, that the descendants of Joseph would increase so rapidly in their own territory that they would soon extend beyond their own boundaries into the neighbouring tribes of the Children of Israel.

In Genesis 49:22 we also have a magnificent character analysis of Joseph as a man. He was fruitful. He was producing that for which his life was intended. He was drawing his strength from a spring. This was a significant factor in the effectiveness of his life—even to the extent that his branches ran over the wall, which indicates that they extended beyond what could have been their limited confine.

In the springtime we see many fruit-bearing trees at the height of their glory, so full of blossoms that each one looks as if it were a mammoth bouquet. When in the spring we behold these fruit-bearing trees in all their splendour, it directs us to look forward to that time of year when we will harvest their produce. Will all these promises of fruit that blossom forth in the early days of spring grow into their intended ripeness? If there should not be enough moisture, if drought should come, has the tree anything to depend on for its sustenance? Joseph’s life had its resources. He drew nourishment from a spring which had a deep source. Therefore, even if the seasonal rains were meagre, he still had a source of strength. For it was God who was the power in Joseph’s life.

When difficult circumstances came, Joseph still had the promise of God that He would never forsake him. How about you and your life? When we are young, life, it seems, holds so many promises. So much so, that someone once coined the phrase: “It is in the springtime of our youth when our blossoms give off the richest fragrance.” There is an enthusiasm and a rich potential in the gifts and talents which God has planted in each person.

We do not all have the same gift, just as all trees do not bear the same kind of fruit. But each of us has something to do and we will find our greatest joy in living if we catch the importance of it. The secret of doing so is to dedicate our gifts and our talents to the highest purpose. That is to secure our future through fearing, loving, and trusting in God above all things. God will bless and give strength to those who lean upon Him, to those who trust in the fact the He came to be our Lord and Savior from sin, and to those who tap into His resources to supply the power for their lives.

Each of us has something to do and we will find our greatest joy in living if we catch the importance of it. The secret of doing so is to dedicate our gifts and our talents to the highest purpose. That is to secure our future through fearing, loving, and trusting in God above all things.

What wonderful words were spoken by Jacob in the blessing of his son, Joseph: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall.” Would it be that these same words would be able to be spoken over each of us!

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Rev. Paul Zabel is President of the East District of Lutheran Church–Canada.