Who are the world changers of today? What does a world changer look like? Are you one? I’ve tended to think that they’re the guys with the biggest mouths, but now I’m not so sure. I’m looking at the role of Joseph in Matthew 2:19-22.
Firstly he was a promise keeper. Mary had been pledged to be his wife when she was found to be with child. Although Joseph had first been inclined to quietly move on, after intervention by an angel in a dream, he chose to keep his promise to marry her and share her disgrace.
Secondly, he was a provider. He gave Mary marital status and a home. He met her and her baby’s needs, and ensured they all fulfilled the legal requirements of registration.
Thirdly he was a protector. He shielded Mary from the possible outcome of stoning for being pregnant out of wedlock. He was attentive to the warning dreams, and took Mary and Jesus to Egypt out of harm’s way.
And fourthly, he had a prophetic gifting for discerning and attending to God’s voice, through the angelic dreams that he experienced. As a result, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but brought up in Nazareth – exactly how God planned it to be. The stage was set for the Son of God to begin his ministry.
Without Joseph’s quiet, thoughtful, careful listening to God and immediately obedience, God’s plan for the redemption of mankind would have been quashed before it could begin. I see time and again Joseph getting up and going, and obeying God’s instructions, but nowhere can I find him saying anything. Yet he changed the world. He ensured a safe environment for the King of Kings to enter into humanity and bring to fruition the plan of redemption for the world.
What does it take to be a world-changer then? Platform guys with amazing gifts of oratory get taken notice of, but I don’t believe the world is changed through great speeches. Joseph changed the world through listening to God and obeying what he heard. And, as for Joseph, that can be costly.
I do wonder though, how much Joseph realised about his significance in all this. He was an ordinary, decent guy doing what an ordinary, decent guy should. Simply doing the right thing, listening to God, and obeying. And that made him a world-changer. But the likelihood is, he died without knowing what an impact his life had made on the whole story of salvation. So there is hope for all of us, however big our mouths!