25 Aug 2016

Changing Values

“Chronological age does not determine maturity, but it is character, moral values, and stages that encompass the fulfillment of development.”

Life’s maturation process is something that many people struggle with.  The act of maturing can take place through several avenues. Preferably maturity takes place through education and the acquisition of wisdom.  It can also develop through experiences (anticipated and unanticipated), as well as hardship.  It is interesting to me how the word “immature” is so offensive.  Yet it is something we must all come to reckon with within ourselves as part of growing up.  Chronological age does not determine maturity, but it is character, moral values, and stages that encompass the fulfillment of development.

When we’re young and immature our desires and values at times can be very superficial and self-centered.  Materialism often dominates what we want out of life.  The big house, the fancy car, the designer wardrobe, the latest and newest electronic devices, so on and so on and so on!  I know you get my drift!  As we get older and experience those life challenges; our bubble bursts a few times; and egos get deflated we then come to understand there is more to life than what is in in our own little sphere in the world.

The life of Joseph in the Bible (Jacob’s son) came to mind when considering personal values and maturity.  Joseph was said by some accounts to be Jacob’s favorite of all his twelve sons.  Living in Canaan they were raised as shepherd boys.  Jacob’s other eleven sons were very resentful of Joseph because he was often somewhat of a “tattle tale”.  He was also a dreamer and shared his elaborate, self-centered dreams with the family.  Then of all things, he was the favored recipient of the “coat of many colors”.  

Joseph was favored with a privileged life to say the least; however instead of him concluding it to be a blessing he flaunted it.  When Joseph’s brothers became fed up with his antics, they devised a plan to sell him into slavery and reported to their father that he must have been killed by wild animals while working in the pasture!  Sold to one of the king’s officers, Joseph becomes a valued and trusted member of the palace – yet again a place of privilege!  Over the years it is discovered that Joseph is not only a dreamer but is an interpreter of dreams.  The king calls upon him to interpret a very disturbing dream.  

Joseph tells of Egypt’s soon coming seven year span of plenty that would be followed by seven years of famine.  This dream and ultimate widespread famine comes to fruition and unbeknownst to Joseph affects the biological family he’s been separated from for years. Jacob directs his sons to Egypt which is the only place in the region to obtain grain.  As God would have it they encounter their long lost brother Joseph but not one of them recognizes him.  However, Joseph recognizes them!  It is at this point we see through unexpected life tragedies and the path God ordained not only for Joseph but also his family that maturity takes places.  No longer is Joseph focused on things that pertain to his well-being and satisfaction but he seizes the opportunity put before him by God to come to the aid of others.  

Could he have chosen to return one evil deed for another and let his family suffer and possibly die?  Certainly he could have!  But over the course of years and throughout his complicated journey his values changed!  He made the choice that obviously God purposed for him to impact the destiny of others.

What are your values in life?  Do they reach beyond materialism and selfishness that plague today’s society?  I encourage you to not only grow in age, but allow the maturation process to flourish as you grow in wisdom, knowledge, grace, faith, and compassion for mankind.

Source: First Lady Denise